Observation and Design

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The Idea Zone, Represented by the Idea Graph

January 5th, 2011 @ 15:00 BST by Richard Stowey

the idea zone

Recently, I have been thinking about what helps me generate ideas. When do they occur the most? What sort of ideas do I find myself having most frequently? And can I put myself in a position where ideas naturally occur more often?

After thinking about the ideas which I have thought of in the past, the big ones usually come when i’m starting a project. Whether the idea is related to that project or not varies, but the ramp up to full steam ahead is when the start magic happens.

The next influx of ideas seems to happen when my workload quietens down a little bit. This is the reflection point in time. Mostly unconsciously, I reflect on things that have happened over the duration of the previous period of work. It’s then that these ideas just pop up.

So, two main ideas happen here. New ideas and reflective ideas. The first are usually the biggest, and the second are usually more efficiency and process driven.

There are also situational based ideas. These come in the form of solutions to problems. I might witness something, experience something or be aware of something which isn’t working. This kind of idea generation can’t be predicted though, but it helps to constantly ask questions.

I call the space between low and high points of work the idea zone, represented above on the ideagraph. When work is slowing or increasing, the idea phase kicks in. But, if the workload is too much it overloads all senses. And in the same respect, if workload is too low, it under-stimulates the brain.

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