Matt Ridley: When ideas have sex

At TEDGlobal 2010, author Matt Ridley shows how, throughout history, the engine of human progress has been the meeting and mating of ideas to make new ideas. It’s not important how clever individuals are, he says; what really matters is how smart the collective brain is.

Ah… I thought this slide from The Daniels from The Vimeo Festival reminded me of something. Rediscovered this TED Talk from TED Radio Hour on “Where Ideas Come From.”

The first step in looking for a story worth writing, Gladwell said, is to read. When he finds an interesting author, Gladwell said he reads the articles the author cites in his work. He follows this trail of articles until it leads him to a story that intrigues him. Gladwell compared the process to that of academic research, adding that he looks for a way to “connect [the ideas] to people outside” of academia.

Isn’t that the trick to creativity/inspiration? The connection of two separate ideas.

… when people keep their brains busy with digital input, they are forfeiting downtime that could allow them to better learn and remember information, or come up with new ideas.

I’m guilty of blending “entertaining” with my “work-outs” as well. I’ve noticed that my best downtime has been in the shower. I can remember information better and come up with new ideas: like my waterproof chalkboard to jott down notes or draw out ideas while IN the shower.

Create a New Idea Every Day: People will say that ideas are a dime a dozen, but I think they’re wrong: I think the first 10 might be worth a dime, but the last two could be worth their weight in gold. I would suggest that the designer without an idea isn’t a designer. Record them, capture them, and go back to them.

I wish I started jotting down ideas early in my career. So many half-baked ideas turn to real start-ups. Coulda, woulda, shoulda.