Idea Factories

October 09, 2014

Ideas are hard. Like, having to actually come up with something is hard. Usually ideas come out of nowhere, at random times; in the shower, while out running, or after one too many beers.

We had an interesting lecture with Christopher Murphy last week titled “Idea Factories”. It explored 5 lessons put forth in James Young’s A Technique for Producing ideas — I read the book and can honestly say I feel better about the whole ideation process. The lessons, adapted for Chris’ lecture:

  1. Gather new material
  2. Mastication
  3. Drop everything and walk away
  4. Out of nowhere an idea materialises
  5. The morning after

I’m somewhere in between stages 3 and 4.

Yesterday, I decided to leave my computer at home and head off to Dublin. I walked away. The only thing I brought with me was my notebook. I wrote down every idea, no matter how ridiculous they seemed. I’m going to share them with you, unedited, because why not?

  • iOS app for weight management and goal tracking
  • Coffee? Untapped for coffee? / Brewing assistant? / Season cycle?
  • Making check-ins more meaningful? Content around them, stories?
  • Check-ins in a more visual way for conferences and events (map of live data)
  • Money management. LOL no
  • Invoicing clients using time tracking app
  • Ordering food online in 60 seconds or less using taste profiles
  • Sidebar for interesting long-form articles
  • Time tracking for rest periods when exercising (beeps through earphones)
  • List app for non-specific times i.e. Mailbox style “Later today”?
  • Mood boarding / better search / better collaboration with Dropbox?
  • Mood based music?
  • What coffee does ‘X’ have at the minute (community driven)?
  • Study / work planner for students (high school + up)
  • Revision web app for students?
  • Beer
  • Interactive guide for brewing coffee
  • Mac / Web app / Bookmarklet for adding articles from non-Safari web browsers to Safari Reading List (I use Chrome on the Mac, Safari (Reading List) on the iPad

The ideas with two asterisks beside them are the ones that stood out to me. I feel they have some importance, I feel like there’s something there.

I strongly recommend everyone reads A Technique for Producing Ideas. It’s like, 50 pages long. You can buy it here. Feedback is welcomed, email me.

Against The Grain, Dublin, 8th October, 2014.