The Idea Book

>> Saturday, July 16, 2011

I was bloghopping when I came across a photo showing The Idea Book. Curious, I asked the blog owner what the book was about and she gave me the link to the Idea Book website. I downloaded a 40+ pages sample and I think it’s great! The book alternates between short stories or quotes about ideas, and activities (followed by blank pages so that you can write your thoughts and ideas immediately in the book). Click the link above to download a sample for yourselves!

And here are two examples for a feel (sample of sample?):

Edison’s idea quota
Understand the importance of coming up with a multitude of ideas as opposed to a handful.

Thomas Alva Edison was a man who realized that you had to come up with many ideas in order to have one good one. Edison was, undoubtedly, an inventive genius. He held the world record for the greatest number of inventions. He invented the gramophone and the incandescent light bulb, developed a storage battery and improved film projectors as well as founding what is today the world’s largest company, General Electric.

Edison realized, however, that good ideas do not come about by them¬selves, so he enforced an idea quota on himself and his employees. His own quota was this: A minor invention every ten days, and a major invention every six months.

Force yourself to come up with more ideas! When facing a problem, think of 50 different solutions. Many of the ideas will not be good ones, but the chances are that the first ideas will not be the best ones anyway. Practise finding many solutions to many problems. Make a habit of asking yourself, “What other ways are there of solving this problem?” Do not give up until you have thought of at least three new solutions. Remember that there are always different ways of solving a problem.

‘Broken’ monitors
The importance of asking the right question.

We often learn how to find the answer to something, but seldom how to find the question. Learning how to ask questions is something we could all do with improving. Just questioning your own organization to see if you can find a better way of running it, is the first step in the right direction. Know how to ask the right question and you are already halfway there.

One of the cafés in an international European airport was often full. The problem was that people sat nursing their coffees for a long time as they waited for their planes to depart. The café asked itself: How can we encourage our customers to vacate the tables more quickly? Their first ideas were probably along the lines of uncomfortable chairs, a seat charge, clear the tables immediately and so forth.

However, the idea they finally decided upon was this: to turn off the flight monitors in the café! This made people worry about missing their flights, which led to them look¬ing for monitors that worked, thus leaving empty tables. When the café had enough empty tables, the flight monitors suddenly started working again to attract new customers.

Formulating a question in different ways can help you look at a problem from different angles. In the case above, for example, you can find new angles by putting the question in another way: How can we sell more? So, instead of finding solutions to the problem of getting people to va¬cate the tables more quickly, you can also come up with solutions such as set up a take-away stand so that people can have a snack or drink by the departure gates, or sell picnic bags that passengers can take onto the planes with them and so on.

Ask more questions and learn to question things that work well in order to see if they can work even better!
When facing a problem, formulate it as a question and then try to find several answers. If you get stuck, ask the question in another way. You can always formulate a problem in many different ways.


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