Guesting on a workshop for students on a master’s programme this week. Here’s the gist of it:


1. Immerse yourself in your subject – go Baptist
2. Look for problems in it
3. Or contradictions – where are the opposing forces?
4. Remember James Dyson’s advice that you can become expert in
anything in 6 months
5. Get inputs from everywhere, especially live humans
6. As live conversation can get thorough and incisive – quickly
7. Immersion will make you a geek so be one with pride. Enthusiasm rocks

Mind Play

8. Learn to play mind games to direct your thinking
9. Engage with your grumpiness, discontent, frustration. Brilliant ideas do not lurk in the complacent and content
10. Shift your focus from ‘I want to…’ to ‘What …. ( a type of person ) could find useful here ….(in specific situation) is….(your idea).’
11. Useful, useful, useful: to who, where , why and how. Oh, and when
12. Yes, you can apply this to works of art too. Emotions. Venting.
13. Our basic thinking involves diverging
14. And converging
15. Or spidergrams
16. And straight lines. Play with these constantly.
17. Stick your idea in centre of the spidergram and surround it with influences on it.
18. Where is resource moving from and to in this eco web?
19. With this in mind, create a straight line now, from A – B – C – D taking your idea through from conception to realization.
20. Play what’s the combo? For instance: books and online video = a vook.
21. See this post for more on this.
22. Put your idea into widely differing contexts: use Google images for inspiration.
23. Be promiscuous with your ideas. Steven Johnson says innovation is ‘ideas having sex’.
24. Rules. Ask yourself what and whose purpose does this rule serve?
25. Be robust with your ideas. Someone else in the world is almost certainly thinking along the same lines.
26. Play film director with your idea. How would it work if you zoomed out and it was part of some huge epic? What if you come in very tight and specific on just one aspect of your idea?
27. Having ideas is really easy
28. Getting them realized is not.
29. It’s how you connect them to people that counts.
30. Read Steven Pressfield
31. Maybe Scott Berkun
32. Or Lewis Hyde
33. Being creative is not about chaos. It is about deep understanding of structure and form and mixing this with mess and uncertainty. Picasso painted these before he went cubist.

Pitching and Piloting

34. Work your idea through metaphors. If your idea were a part of the human body, an aspect of nature, piece of technology what would it be?
35.. Who you are doesn’t matter – it is what the idea offers
36. Describe your idea in 3 nouns. For instance: Book. Video. Vook.
37. Then create its short Google tagline – what does it give your market?
38. If you like this post, then you’ll probably like anything to do with Neuromarketing
39. If you want buy-in to pilot, how will your idea make the commissioners look good?
40. Efficient description can involve
41. Form : this is what idea is
42. Function: this is what idea does
43. Feelings: this is how the idea affects people’s feelings
44. Fantasies: and their imaginings
45. Do not pitch until you can describe these aspects.
46. Your idea and you need a story. Preferably one where you complement each other.
47. Your story needs to show where you are coming from rather than the vainglorious.
48. Get into conversation, ask for feedback, help and advice. And remember, rejection always involves a particular take. There may be different takes elsewhere.
49. Where the world telling you ‘no’ is creating feelings of hopelessness, move on to something else. Swing between ideas, taking a scattergun approach to targets. Tough it out.

By szcz

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