Quantity produces quality ideas

Thomas Edison - inventor of the phonograph and long-life lightbulb - impacted the world with his ideas. Without Edison and his creative genius, we (most likely) would live in a very different world today. But what made Edison a creative genius? How was he able to create such brilliant ideas?

One way was that Edison produced a large quantity of ideas, not just one or two.

“Edison’s New Jersey labratory contains a staggering display of hundreds of phonograph horns of every shape, size, and material… . This collection of rejected ideas is a visual testament to Edison’s thinking strategy-in essence, to explore every conceivable possibility. For every brilliant idea Edison had, he had many duds (Source: Cracking Creativity, 89).”

It is typical for a person to come up with just a few ideas - the average person usually generates three to six ideas - and then try to move forward with one of them to find success. An easier route to find a quality, creative idea is simply to produce a lot of ideas.

Out of every 100 ideas you produce, one will be worth really perusing. You are almost always guaranteed to find a quality idea out of 200 ideas. 300 ideas or more and you can’t miss a great opportunity.

The more ideas you have, the more likely one of those ideas is to be brilliant.

Whether you are designing a logo, cleaning out your garage, or trying to work out your schedule for the weekend, coming up with as many ideas as possible will - without a doubt - help you discover the absolute best solution.

By creating many different, potential ideas, you are basically scanning over all possibilities. When you cover all possibilities you are bound to figure out which ideas will work, which ones won’t, and which ideas are truly worthwhile.

If you’re having trouble coming up with a lot of ideas, here are five valuable ways to produce more ideas.