After talking with my BNET editor yesterday, I’ve been mulling a series called “My Best Idea(s).” The concept would be to interview various folks about how they got the breakthrough ideas that have made a big difference in their lives. Creativity is always a murky matter. We have various notions of it (“it just popped into my head!”) but even when things come out of the blue, usually it’s because we’ve gathered a lot of information, pondered things for a while, then stepped away and put ourselves somewhere else. I don’t know why this works, but I do know that one of the easiest ways for me to have a breakthrough is to read a bunch about something, then go for a run. Talking with other smart people is a good idea, too, though you have to be careful. Some people can manage to turn any brainstorming session into a rehash of their own pet story lines.
So how have you gotten your best ideas? Was it a eureka moment or did things build up over time? Did you devote specific “strategic thinking time” to coming up with your breakthrough? Have you managed to replicate the methodology next time you needed to be creative?