How to get new ideas?

In his short book “A Technique for Producing Ideas” James Webb basically provides us with a step by step guide to the next groundbreaking idea. Here they are:

  1. Gather raw materials for your mind! There are two kinds of materials worth gathering:
    1.   First: Material specific to the problem or field! You do that by interacting and talking to people in the field (but not just the higher ups)  as well as reading books on those topics or attending seminars.
    2. Second: General Knowledge, which you gather through out your life, this obviously never ends.
  2. Now write down on paper all the facts about the industries/ areas you are interested in. Then start trying to make connections between them where do you find possibilities  for synergies or processes that would make a process more efficent. Basiclly make connections between the different fields. This is the hardest part about the whole process take time at least 4 hours.
  3. The third point might be the easiest but it is crucial for the production of the idea, here is what you do: Drop the project completely and do something that stimulates your senses like going for a walk for instance, just get the project out of your conscious.
  4. At some point in the the following days of weeks a idea oder many of them will appear and your job is to record them  by writting them down and then immediately write down one little step towards testing them. But dont get discouraged if the idea does not appear groundbreaking at first. This exercise lets your sub-conscious mind do the work without you doing much.
  5. The last step is to test the idea start doing some experiments they dont have to be big. James calls it taking your little new born idea into the world. You need to seek feedback and criticsm to pivot your idea till it fits the marktet conditions. BUT dont get discouraged if you get a lot of negative feedback some of it might just be rejection of the new or unknown. Stay with it but pivot if needed.


I highly recomend picking up James Webb`s book its short but knowledge packed and makes anymore books on this topic basically obsolete.