Good ideas are not born fully formed. That’s a myth, get it out of your head now. Good ideas are also not always totally original, that’s also a myth.

Rockstars and poets will tell you that that amazing work of art came to them fully formed in a dream, in the shower, while walking in the park. They are lying (mostly).

REALLY good ideas take work, fine-tuning, pruning, adding, adapting.

In his book, The Runaway Species, neuro-scientist David Eagleman gives one of the most potent tools for Ideation I have yet encountered… The 3 B’s:

Bend

Blend

Break

What Eagleman points out is: those good ideas that suddenly find a niche all fall into one of these 3 categories:

  • They are either a BEND. This is where an existing idea is taken out o its context and applied somewhere else, literally bending it to a new use
  • Or they are a BLEND which is where two or more existing ideas are joined together in a novel or exciting way to create a new, composite idea (think of a smartphone)
  • Or they are a BREAK, where a complex existing idea is broken into its component parts which are then re-assembled in a new way, to create a surprising, useful or valuable new configuration.

Try it

Next time you have an idea and you’re not sure if its any good, or you are frustrated because you KNOW it isn‘t good enough, try the 3 B’s out… Bend your idea to a new place, blend it with something else, or take it apart and put it together again in a different way, or BREAK it apart and BLEND it with some other ideas, and the BEND it to a new application… just these 3 approaches can generate an almost infinite list of variations… a fantastic way to split your standard way of looking at the world into pieces and spark spark spark!

When someone else is telling you HOW they came up with a great idea, ignore them. There’s a good chance they are not really aware of how it happened. But ask yourself, is that idea a bend, a blend or a break? Or is it some combination of all/two of them?

You’ll be amazed at the results

And inspired… really inspired!