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The ability to produce good ideas one after the other is a sought after skill in both work and life. For several years I have used the process described in the 1926 book, the thought Art by Graham Wallas to generate great ideas. Recently I found out A technique for producing ideas by James Webb Young, so I did a quick search on the internet for more information. I found two articles that summarized the book, which is only 48 pages long, and felt that the method described sounds similar to the one described in thought Art .

As a professional with over 15 years of research experience, I felt it was important to read the book to myself as information that I may find important may have been left outside the articles I read. It is interesting that I noted the similarities between the idea generation process described by James Webb Young and Graham Wallas because at the end of his book Young recommends that readers also read thought Art (as well as Science and method and The art of scientific research ) to better understand the whole idea generation process. By the way, thought Art wrote in 1926 and A technique for producing ideas in the 1940s.

This is my interpretation of the information described in A technique for producing ideas .

5 steps to idea generation

Step 1: Collect information

There are two types of information to collect:

  • Specific
    • Gather as much information as possible on the topic of interest
    • Write down the information on 3x5 index cards, one article per card
    • Classify the information by sections of the topic of interest
  • General
    • This is an ongoing process throughout your life
    • Record any interesting information you encounter in a scrapbook or other archival method that makes sense to you
Step 2: Work on the information in your mind

  • Look at the information you gathered from many different angles
  • Synthesize the information
  • Combine two facts and see how they fit together
  • Connect the information to what you already know, nothing is in a vacuum
  • When tentative or partial ideas come to you, no matter how crazy or incomplete, document them on the index card, one idea per card
  • Do not stop until you have at least a partial or incomplete idea
  • When everything is a jumble or it is pointless for you to do additional work, it is time for the next step
Step 3: Incubation

  • Turn the problem into your subconscious mind
  • Work on an independent task or do something that stimulates imagination and emotions
Step 4: Eureka ! I've got it

  • When you least expect it, the idea comes to you
Step 5: Form and develop the idea

  • The idea will probably not be ready to be implemented as it is
  • Subject of criticism - test it and then refine it
5 good ideas

  • An idea is a combination of old elements
  • The ability to combine old elements into something new depends on the ability to see relationships and make connections
  • Build a reservoir of knowledge, which is filled with life experiences, facts and other information
  • Learning is a lifelong process
  • Constantly extend your experiences personally and vicariously

I liked A technique for producing ideas by James Webb Young and will integrate his process into Walla's & # 39; process. It is a great idea to keep a scrapbook for general information. When you come across really interesting information that you currently can't use, where do you park it so you don't forget it? My suggestion is that you create an electronic document to store the important information. The older you get, the more general information you would have gathered, which helps with creative problem solving. I recommend A technique for producing ideas .

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