"We gather knowledge faster than we gather wisdom." - William Bell

Make Your Ideas A Reality In 2008

Posted: December 31st, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Random | No Comments »

Everybody makes resolutions, and I think that it’s great. I know a lot of people laud the thought of making resolutions because they view the chances of sticking to them as slim. However, I think that listing resolutions for a new year is an important exercise. It forces you to think about things that you want to change about your life and the steps that are required to start the process.

A key “resolution” that has relevance to being an Idea Drunk is how to make your ideas a reality in 2008. I’m sure that in the past year, your head has been swarming with ideas. The key is the movement from a loose thought that only exists in your head to an idea that has life in the real world. How do you do it? You write it down.

Pretty simple. Write down your top three, five or ten ideas in a place that you see everyday. Just The fact that they are out there, existing outside of your mind, gives them a chance to be part of your life in 2008. I’ll give you an example.

My Bathroom Mirror

At the beginning of 2007, I wrote down a couple of goals that I wanted to accomplish that year. They ranged from several aspects of my life: work, Ultimate, business, fun. On this list, you can see that there are six goals. I accomplished¬†four out of six. One of them, I didn’t even try for (to make $10,000 in online poker) and the other one didn’t work out because of timing (the Philippines Project).

The thing is, that throughout the year, I gradually knocked some of these things off of the list. I didn’t work from top to bottom, or from most important to least important. It was just that every morning when I was brushing my teeth, I saw this list. If I could do something that day that could help me achieve one of these goals, cool. If I couldn’t or was too lazy, whatever. The point is that these ideas existed in the real world. They couldn’t be ignored or forgotten over the course of the year because they were written down.

So, if you want some of your ideas to come to life in 2008, all that is required is a dry-erase marker and a roommate that doesn’t clean the mirror. Have a Happy New Year!

- Christian

Christian's Cool Christmas Present

Posted: December 24th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Cool Ideas | No Comments »

I got something really cool for Christmas. So, every year ad agencies give their clients (and staff) presents for Christmas. Sometimes it’s a party. Sometimes it’s alcohol. One time it was a PSP (very cool). At TAXI – the Toronto ad agency where I work – they decided to do something a little different.

To commemorate the ad agency’s 15th anniversary, they started the 15 Below Project. Basically, they are creating a jacket for to help homeless people to survive the frigid winters in Toronto.¬† The coat is an anorak-style, with drawstrings at the waist and hem. A hood can be folded into the collar. Two pockets in the hood, four on the chest, a large one on the back, and a long one down each sleeve can be stuffed with crumpled newspaper as the temperature drops.

You stuff or unstuff the pouches as you need to, so the same jacket that keeps you dry in the rain, becomes something that can protect you from extreme temperatures. In warm, dry weather, the entire jacket can be folded into one of the pockets and there are straps so it can be carried as a backpack or used as a pillow.

I think it’s kind of cool that an ad agency is now finding a second use for their ads – keeping homeless people warm. And it makes a pretty good Christmas present.

- Christian

Don't Covet Your Ideas

Posted: December 19th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: On Ideation | No Comments »

I got a Christmas present today. It was a book. It’s called “It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be.” To be honest, I haven’t had the opportunity to read through it all yet, but it looks promising at a first glance. It’s written by a guy name Paul Arden who worked at Saatchi as a creative director.

One of the things that it talked about was freeing ideas. The author suggests, “Give away everything you know, and more will come back to you.”

You remember from your high school days when other kids prevented you from seeing their answers by placing their arm around their paper. I remember during exam time, some people would construct elaborate fortresses of pencil cases and binders. It is the same at work – people are secretive with ideas. They are afraid of letting other people know what they’re thinking because they think that they won’t get credit for it.

The problem with hoarding ideas is you end up living off your reserves. Eventually you’ll become stale. If you give away everything you have, you are left with nothing. This forces you to look, to be aware, to replenish.

So the more you give away the more comes back to you.

Ideas are open knowledge. Don’t claim ownership. They’re not your ideas anyways … they’re someone else’s. They are out there floating in the ether. You just have to put yourself in a frame of mind to pick them up. The hard part is having the balls to act on them.

- Christian

Big Questions To Ask Yourself

Posted: December 17th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Inspiration | No Comments »

So often when you are facing a problem, asking the right questions can clarify the whole situation for you. They can reveal insights. They can frame answers. They can define the very solution of the issue that you are facing.

I have been very fortunate in the way that I was brought up. The way that my parents raised me was to be unafraid of asking the big questions of both myself and others. Of course, sometimes I ask the questions too brashly, which inevitably gets an unfavourable response. However, I always seem to get away with it because the questions that I ask are steeped in insight and truth. Either that, or I have really good puppy dog eyes when I overstep the bounds.

Chris Barez-Brown says, “With big questions you always carry a guru sage in your pocket.” You just have to have the courage to ask the question of yourself or your group and be willing to answer it honestly. The right question is the keystone. Ask it and all the difficulty falls crashing to the ground and clarity prevails.

Choosing the right question from the thousands of potentials is down to intuition. Listen to your guy. But when in doubt, ask more questions.

Ask yourself:

- What if I couldn’t fail? What would I do then?

- What if I only had one day to live? What would I do then?

- What if I had all of the money in the world? What would I do then?

- What if I was trying to get fired? What ideas come to mind?

- What if my life had to be exceptional or I would be sent to jail?

- What is your goal in life?

- What if I had to get a tattoo? What would it be?

- What if I wasn’t scared of anything?

- What if I wanted to be famous?

- If I could learn one thing, what would it be?

- Christian

Where Do Ideas Come From?

Posted: December 12th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Random | No Comments »

“Mom, where do babies come from?”

“When two people love each other very much … or are drunk and don’t use protection”

Yeah, so that’s basically how I learned where babies come from. And you know what? It wasn’t as cool as I thought it would be. But the following article from Fast Company talks about when ideas are born, which is a much messier process.

I’m always interested to learn where creative people find inspiration. For Sir James Dyson, it’s annoyances from everyday life; hand dryers that left his hands moist sent him off to the lab to create a better solution. For Brian Hassemer, a senior engineer at Motorola, the magnetic catch on his kitchen cabinets was the inspiration for closing a flip phone. Ayse Birsel found patterns in nature that suggested an organic angle (120 degrees) to incorporate in an office furniture system.

Last week I read a piece in the New York Times about Hollywood producer Brian Grazer. Imagine Entertainment, which he runs with director Ron Howard, is the production company behind hit movies such as A Beautiful Mind and American Gangster, as well as three of my favorite TV shows, Arrested Development, Sports Night, and Friday Night Lights. Grazer takes a remarkably disciplined approach to feeding his own eclectic mind.

“For the last 20 years,” Allison Hope Weiner wrote in the Times, “Mr. Grazer has met each week with a person who is an expert in science, medicine, politics, fashion, religion – anything other than entertainment.” A get-together with trial lawyers inspired Liar, Liar, a comedy about a lawyer afflicted with truth-telling. An encounter with a former F.B.I. agent led to the new Fox series The F.B.I.

“I want to do things that have a better chance of being thought of as original,” Grazer said. “I do everything I can to disrupt my comfort zone.”

- Christian

Why You Should Get High and Brainstorm

Posted: December 6th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Brainstorming Techniques | No Comments »

You should try brainstorming high. I’m not talking about shooting crack through your eyeballs and babbling incessantly about how “The Man” is keeping you down. You can use THC, alcohol or even endorphins from exercising to get high. The key is to allow your mind to graduate to an altered state.

I know what some of you are probably thinking. This dude is a total pot head trying to find a legitimate excuse to indulge. That might be true. However, I believe that there is validity to this technique. All of the other brainstorming techniques that I’ve discussed and employed try to do one thing: view your problem from a different perspective.

Think about your issue in a different way. That’s what it’s all about. That is how you come up with brilliant ideas, by taking an unconventional approach to representing the problem. If you view the issue the same way that everyone else does (such as your competition), you will come up with the same solutions.

Previous techniques have changes the constraints of how you represent a problem. This does the same thing, by altering your state of mind. You will view things differently. You will come up with new ideas. And the best thing about it, you’ll probably be too high to say “no” during the brainstorm. Every idea will be a good idea. Which is perfect for brainstorming.

How To Do It

1. Get high
2. Define your problem
3. Take another hit
4. Brainstorm solutions
5. Eat some Doritos

Granted, I realize that this technique is not for everyone. I mean, certain people are not able to assert self-control and focus once they enter into an altered mind state. Chances are, they’ll just be funny high people and distract you. They key is to relax, enjoy the new perspective and tackle the problem.

- Christian

Visual Brainstorming: How And Why To Do It

Posted: December 3rd, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Brainstorming Techniques | No Comments »

I was reading How To Have Kick Ass Ideas and came across a cool article in the book that described a visual brainstorming technique that I thought was pretty cool. The whole thought process behind it was to capture your issue or opportunity without using words.

How To Do It

Get playful, get a big piece of paper and let fly. This is not about being artistic, but about having fun – you can make sense of it all later. You can draw it, you can paint it … you can even make a collage of with pictures from magazines. The key is no words.

Now, when you look at it, what does it make you think, what ideas does it give you? How else could you interpret it? If you look at it sideways, what relevance does it have to your opportunity? What ideas does it give you?

Why This Technique Rocks

Creating visuals means that you use your brain in a different manner to when you are using words, so it forces you to think in new ways. Once you have made visuals the top priority, you will have much more space to go with creatively in your interpretation of what the issue is and how you may be able to tackle it.

It’s a bit like art. Everyone sees something different in it, and the longer you look and change your perspective on it, the more ideas you get. If you interpret your own sketch by just blurting stuff out then you will find that your insights will become richer and more fertile.

- Christian