When out and about, I used to put all my ideas into a pocket notebook. Then I switched to emailing myself from my phone. Then I tried the Notes app. Now I put them in Wunderlist, a to-do app. It's not my favourite to-do app — Microsoft even released another app to replace it — because I use my favourite to-do app for my actual to-dos. No, this is my sidecar and it's a much better way to jot down random notes than using a text app.
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The goal of brainstorming is to find possible solutions to a problem, but the process often becomes a platform for the outspoken, who offer the same perspective time and time again. Instead, ask everyone to generate more questions about the problem so you get a better understanding of what it really is. This counterintuitive method from Hal Gregersen, the executive director of the MIT Leadership Center, gets everyone thinking and participating, and can turn a lacklustre brainstorming session into something far more effective.
How's NaNoWriMo going? Do you have 20 per cent of a novel on your hard drive yet? If not, maybe you're having trouble thinking of what to write. Fortunately, there's a place on nanowrimo.org that is full of ideas ripe for the stealing.
Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we're talking with Jack Zhang, co-founder and CEO of cross-border payment platform Airwallex.
I spent 10 years "writing" a TV show about Silicon Valley. I spent hundreds of hours talking about it, collecting ideas in a giant Evernote file, brainstorming the soundtrack -- but not much time writing it. Because every time I thought I had a handle on it, I thought of a better version. Over the years, I adapted my unwritten pilot into an unwritten book, movie, web series and comic strip. I chased every idea at once, until the project loomed grand and unwieldy in my head. I was building up a mountain of idea debt.
We feel that time is precious, and we shouldn't waste it. We often try and fill the void with carefully-planned tasks. But turning down the volume on life can be extremely beneficial. We fight against boredom, distraction and procrastination all the time, but that doesn't mean you should get rid of them completely.
Putting limits on your brainstorming may seem counterproductive, but it actually helps you get your ideas flowing. The Japanese game of shiritori is an easy way to guide your brainstorming session, whether you're looking for ideas for a new project, book or physical product.
Nearly all great ideas follow a similar creative process, and this article explains how this process works. Understanding this is important because creative thinking is one of the most useful skills you can possess. Nearly every problem you face in work and in life can benefit from creative solutions, lateral thinking and innovative ideas.