03 January 2020

How focus is key to unlocking new ideas.

The key to success when creating ideas is focus. Given absolute freedom, humans tend to freeze. We’re disabled by too much choice.

Take for example the task to think of new ideas. Try this now. Think of as many new ideas as you can. No constraints, they could be anything. Not so easy, is it?

Now try to think of 5 new ideas to entertain bored children in an airport. I’ll bet you’re fizzing with ideas. It’s the focus that allows you to unleash your creative potential.

There are different levels at which you can concentrate your focus. For example, you could:

You can always add or subtract constraints when asking a question. In fact, asking wider questions will inevitably lead to new questions with more contrasts.

When creating ideas, it’s important to be deliberate with your focus. It all depends on what you want to get out of an ideas session. Go too wide and you’re paralysed by choice; too narrow and ideas tend to repeat themselves.

I’d recommend spending a fixed time at each focus level. Start wide and go narrow. Depending on what you find you can always go up or down levels as the ideas start to flow.