When many people brainstorm, they tend to get into a very bad habit: They tend to stop brainstorming after they generatge the “first right idea.”
In other words, at the first sign of a promising idea, they decide that they’re done brainstorming, and mentally “pack it up” and move on to another task. This tendency is probably due to the way we were conditioned to think in school – the principle that each and every question can have only one “right idea.”
While this way of thinking may have served you well in school, it’s definitely detrimental to your ability to develop creative solutions as an adult. Why? Because your brain tends to reach for the easy ideas, the low-hanging mental fruit, which in most cases aren’t the most valuable ideas.
To get at the higher-value ideas lurking in your brain, you need to push on through this barrier and continue to generate more and better ideas. At this stage, quantity is important. You need to clean out the mental flotsam and jetsam to make way for the really cool and outrageous high-value ideas. Once you’re done generating ideas, look for opportunities to improve and combine them.
In addition, develop a set of criteria for evaluating the ideas you’ve generated, so that you have a way of identifying those with the highest potential value to your current opportunity or challenge.
Most importantly, don’t stop with only “one right idea!”
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