The Best Ideas Are Hidden

Icon thx Michał Czekała via nounproject
Icon thx Michał Czekała via nounproject

How do you find fresh ideas? Sometimes we need a change of scenery to think in new ways, and resort to travel or seeking exotic experiences.

Many times, though, fresh ideas are hiding right under our noses.

In his TED talk, Adam Grant offers some great tips on uncovering the ideas that are closer than you think.

1. Question the default.

Design Disruptors offers great examples of this pointing out that many of the ideas that were solutions to problems at one time have themselves become the problem (take taxis, and how apps like Uber are re-thinking the problem).

2. Find a different angle.

Grant calls this “vuja de”, which, he explains means, “when you look at something you’ve seen many times before and all of a sudden see it with fresh eyes.” By looking at a problem from a different angle, new ideas can emerge.

3. Sit on it.

Grant extols the virtues of “moderate procrastination” in generating fresh ideas. By giving your mind time to mull over a problem, you give yourself time to explore a variety of solutions.

If you’re stuck on a problem, try questioning the default, looking from a different angle, or giving it some time. Maybe the right idea was right there the entire time.