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According to Tom Wujec, writing in his book, Five Star Mind, the more information you gather, the greater the pool of resources you have to draw upon for creative ideation. Here are some tips for seeding your pool of resources and ideas.

According to Tom Wujec, writing in his book, Five Star Mind, the more information you gather, the greater the pool of resources you have to draw upon for creative ideation. Here are some tips for seeding your pool of resources and ideas:

Add diversity: “Look… outside your sphere of influence. Go somewhere new and bring something different back to your mental kitchen… Alternatively, you might choose to make your expedition a mental one, by studying a new subject and gaining an intimate understanding of it, through books, articles and reports.”

Tap your deep memories: “Look for ideas that are inside you, stored in your memory. Think of events and experiences from your past that might have bearing on the project you’re working on now; try to remember the details and apply them to your current situation.”

Look to nature for ideas: “Our planet is endlessly fascinating, and chances are that nature has already done something which relates to your idea. Search among the animal, vegetable and mineral worlds for concepts that might work for you.” (Case in point: Chrysler’s new 70 mpg Bionic Car concept vehicle, which was inspired by an odd sea creature called the boxfish!)

Assemble an experience kit: “Gather together a few items which relate to your subject and keep them around you for a while. Sometime, when you least expect it, they may trigger an important discovery.”

Record your ideas: “…be they notes, sketches or musical passages. Keep them in an organized fashion. Remember – if you don’t do anything with your ideas – if you don’t shape them into reality – they will have done little to serve you.”

I love Tom’s colorful cooking metaphor, especially the image of the “mental kitchen.” It speaks to me of the need to add spice to your ideas, and of being open to new opportunities to try different combinations of ideas or “mental ingredients.”

I also like the concept of the “experience kit,” which helps members of your brainstorming team become immersed in the elements of the the challenge at hand – which, in turn helps to generate breakthrough ideas!