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Harvesting ideas for creative strategies – the compost technique.

March 7, 2011

Consistently producing innovative ideas for creative strategies is a challenging task. A well informed design brief is a good basis for creative thinking, yet we still need to generate possible solutions from somewhere.

Pasteur’s Dictum tells us, ‘chance favors the prepared mind’, so we need techniques to attune ourselves to inspiration. Idea composting is a way of describing, making use of everything we learn from every project we experience. A strong sense of curiosity and attention to the world around us helps us see the potential in diverse forms. Yet we need to do more than ‘stop and smell the roses’, we need to take note.

Most creative people grow with every project, but seeing the value in the scraps and peelings that revealed the fruit, improves the quality of the ideas we harvest in the future. As the origins and the context of the fragments we save decay over time, they combine to produce a rich, fertile mixture within which new concepts can flourish.

By composting ideas via traditional techniques of sketch books and note taking, and more contemporary methods like bookmarking and blogging, we are working, not only on our current challenges but on unknown future projects.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. March 7, 2011 9:03 pm

    Thank you very much for visiting my blog. I decided to come and see yours and I like it! I really enjoy your designs. May I add you to my blog roll?

    • March 7, 2011 10:05 pm

      Hey, thanks for the comment. Of course, would be very happy to be added to your blog roll.
      Thanks again, Nick

  2. March 8, 2011 11:14 pm

    I love the idea of “creative composting.” I know from my personal experiences that my best ideas don’t come to me when I’m actively looking for them. They often come to me at random (and often inopportune) times. Because of this I’ll often write ideas down as I go so I can refer back to them when I need them. I like how you mention the importance of “seeing the value in the scraps and peelings that revealed the fruit.” I think that too often we forget to see the value in the creative process and focus solely on the end product. Thanks for some wonderful insight!

    • March 9, 2011 8:54 am

      Hey Jess, there’s nothing nicer than to share an idea that someone ‘loves’, so many thanks for that. I was worried that suggesting keeping sketch books and saving experiments was a little obvious and is second nature to most creative people. I just felt the metaphor helped visualise how we can encourage projects being influenced by all of our accumulated experiences. Cheers, Nick.

  3. March 23, 2011 2:29 am

    Hi Nick,

    Great article! Thank you for stopping by my blog. Your perspective on creativity is refreshing. Very much enjoyed reading.



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