How many ideas are enough?

To create a flow of ideas strong enough to drive innovation, how many ideas are enough? Is one good idea better than hundreds of mediocre ones? Tony Buzan, who developed his mind-mapping technique after studying history’s great creative thinkers, says quantity creates quality. “Fluency is one of the main goals of all creative thinkers,” he writes in The Ultimate Book of Mind Maps®. It’s not true that such people produce only a few precious ideas and run out of steam; they produce vast numbers, and accelerate their productivity as their lives progress. His point is underlined by Ed Catmull, cofounder of Pixar, the force behind Toy Story, Ratatouille, Finding Nemo and A Bug’s Life. “People tend to think of creativity as a mysterious solo act,” he says. “A movie contains literally tens of thousands of ideas… Creativity must be present at every level of every artistic and technical part of the organisation. The leaders sort through a mass of ideas to find the ones that fit into a coherent whole… It’s like an archaeological dig where you don’t know what you’re looking for.”

 

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