How do we find our best, most creative ideas?

In most cases, we need to get past all of the boring ideas first.

The human brain has evolved to be as efficient as possible. That is why when it is set a challenge, the most efficient thing for it to do is to use the frequently used memories, which require significantly less time, effort and energy for the brain to find.

In most cases, these memories do a good enough job for the challenge and that is all the brain needs. If this is the case, it stops searching and these existing brain network connections become even more reinforced.

But what if those first ideas are not creative enough?

After all, they are likely to be exactly what has existed before as a memory.

They are boring.

If you want more creative ideas, you need to push your brain to form connections which it has never tried before. Some people experience this as a comfort barrier.

This requires much more energy for the brain, so the brain might resist as it is uncomfortable.

It will also likely result in a large number of really bad and useless ideas.

But pushing your brain past the boring ideas is the only way you will end up with the special and original ideas later on.

Digging in the brain

Imagine coming up with creative ideas like digging for treasure.

And the treasure is buried deep.

If you start digging, the first thing you will end up with is all the dirt which was at the surface. These are your memories, and not very original.

Your need to get all of these memories (dirt) out of the way before you start creating a hole.

If you keep digging, next will come the first, easy ideas which are similar to the memories.

But it is only once you have all of these boring ideas out of the way, that your hole is finally able to reach the treasure below.

On the way, you’re likely to pull out a large number of rocks (useless ideas) as well.

But that is part of the search for treasure.

Nick Skillicorn: I help teams and companies just like yours unleash the creativity and innovation potential that already exists in your people.

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Did you know that scientific evidence shows your creativity decreases over time
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Creativity & Innovation expert: I help individuals and companies build their creativity and innovation capabilities, so you can develop the next breakthrough idea which customers love. Chief Editor of Ideatovalue.com and Founder / CEO of Improvides Innovation Consulting. Coach / Speaker / Author / TEDx Speaker / Voted as one of the most influential innovation bloggers.