There are multiple creative methods based on brainstorming rules that will help you to collectively generate solutions proposals among your team. I used to say that brainstorming is quite good for expressing ideas by extrovert people and help to collect all ideas in one place. This kind of methods help to begin the creative process on conscious level of your mind using only few percent of the real potential of your brain. But there is also much more effective subconscious creative process that not many people know how to use in terms of better problem solving. Since 2011 I used these methods to create many good solutions both for my company as my customers and it always worked. Mastering described in this article skills you will be surprised how easy you can find very accurate and original solutions that others simply don’t have.

Regularly feed your brain with valuable inspirations. In one of previous article I explained how Jobs connected dots in creative way so he came up with idea of Apple computer first with beautiful fonts and later also with beautifully designed electronic devices.

To produce these original connections first you need to feed your brain with dots – inspirations.

There are two ways (both are good, just depends on situation you are)

  • If you already have challenge for which you want to find creative solutions:

Research a much as possible about the challenge you want to solve f.e. read articles, talk to experts, google keywords, participate in webinars, collect related knowledge.

  • If you don’t have exact problem just want to gain some valuable inspirations:

Travel a lot, meet new people, experience and try different things, like sports, hobbies.

Remember to not do it only superficially (like visit only airport of a foreign city:) but really play hard to experience, learn and pay attention to details that others could miss (enter the city, check the parts of city where only local people live, talk to them, visit their come, spend a day with them). This is your investment in variety of inspirations that one day can come back to you.

Example: I used to take a part in many events and congresses. In 2013 I’ve been an outdoor trainer during very good leadership academy in Sweden. I learned and collected many inspirations on how to help people plan their path in live and become leader first for youself and later build effective teams.  

Forget about what you are about to solve. If you want to make you subconscious brain to work on a solution for you, have to forget about problem and free it from your mind for a while. Maybe day, week or a month. This doesn’t mean you don’t want to solve it anymore, just you want to deal with other stuff and let the ideas incubate a bit by them self.

Withdraw inspirations and connect them in new way. One moment you will realize, that these inspiration collected some time ago, (could be also many years ago) will come up to your mind as original solution for a new problem. The new connection will be build in you brain between current challenge and not obviously related old inspiration.

This what happen to me recently. Project manager from training company who organise motivational event for 1000 + participants asked me for consultancy. They want to do big event and make it different from others. I come up with the ideas that was a combination of one inspiration i learned in Sweden years ago and the challenge of distinguished big event they want to do.

I told them to incorporate the exercise in small subgroups to let people reflect on knowledge they just received from stage and help to apply it immediately to improve or build their long term life plan? The following idea was to recruit 50 trainers that during the event will step out from stage and work for an hour or two in small groups to help write letter to best friend sharing their current life situation in 5 years. This will let them individually imagine and plan their life path for next few years.

He said “this is briliant idea, why nobody from our company did not come up with it?

The answer is obvious, they were missing previous experiences and inspirations I had and couldn’t combine with their concept to create new value. They were thinking only in terms of huge, mass event and I found original option to connect it to small group exercise. Ease, isn’t?

Be ready for Eureka!, but don’t expect it. Breakthrough idea come up to you mind and disappear instantly. You should be ready for that moment to save the idea: on paper, on your smartphone or as voice recording.

But do make the mistake that each day will ask yourself: Hey, where is my idea? When it will show up in my mind? Don’t expect it because it will make you think about the problem and the incubation won’t work for you.

Be patient and catch the idea as soon it will appear. Sometime it can take days, weeks, months or years .. but it will happen, like it happened to me when project manager asked me to help him improve big motivational event.

The previous experience just appeared in my mind, so I shared it and developed to accurate solution could be applied to distinguish this particular event.

Understand and practice incubation. Incubation is process you can practice and improve to provoke brilliant flash of idea. To to that first understand how does it work:

Incubation is working in the most efficient way while you’re sleeping, having vacation or simply don’t force your brain to think too much just relaxing. This means your brain has some time to rearrange and put in order all information that are stored. It is also the time when he groups ideas together and can build unexpected connection of old inspiration and current problems.

Therefore top managers have much more vacation during their year or Einstein used to take a nap when had problem to solve.

The moment this neuron connection is established you feel a brilliant idea came to your mind. Previously this connection didn’t exist. now it is, and this new neuron connection makes you so excited that you yield Eureka!

Be aware that this new neuron connection is not that strong because only one electric impulse run through it and after that can connection be again broken. We can compare it to path on grass field. If only one car drove through grass, the path after wheels soon will disappear and the grass will again grow up. The same with unexpected neuron connection in you brain. If you won’t repeat it and practice it will disappear so better write down the idea represented by this neuron connection.

You should practice the process of incubation by repeating steps mentioned above and here in summary:

  • constantly collect inspirations and knowledge, be curious, passionate and pay attention to details
  • you brain will store all information, you can relax
  • as soon some problem to be solved will appear, ask you brain to incubate for an accurate idea and forget about the problem, deal with other stuff not related to this challenge
  • take your time, don’t expect solution to solve but be ready for example in the morning after you will wake up, when driving car, polishing dishes, taking a shower, while jogging… theses moments are typical for me when good ideas appear in my mind. Try them but also check which works for you
  • immediately write down the idea and later develop it to even better version

Have a great incubated ideas!

Tomek Bakowski

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