Here are some of the responses:
- “I get some of my best ideas during mental ‘down time’ — when I’m taking a shower or mowing the lawn.” — Chuck Frey
- “When I receive new input — whether reading or hearing something new — I tend to connect it to something else that had been stored in the corner of my mind. This tends to create a ‘eureka’ effect for me, and I find an application for something that had previously been academic.” — Tayfun Demiroz
- “I generate the most ideas after talking in person with someone, if that talking allows us to ‘build’ ideas — if we are not trying to make a point, maintain a position, or compete. It seems very helpful to then engage in some material practice, like sanding wood. Some kind of activity where my mind is partially engaged in a focused activity that involves my body. The information I gleaned from the earlier talking then has room to unfold over a specific period of time.” — Marta Lyall
- “The use of incubation time and taking a break usually leads to a solution when you least expect it. Put your problem, thoughts, and ideas aside and let them stew for a bit until that ‘AHA’ you’ve been searching for is ready to pop out. Often you think of a problem too much. You become too close to it and need to step back, give it a rest, have a break, and sleep on it. Getting away from the location of the problem or where you normally problem solve problems can also help to remove the barriers that some environments place on us. I’m certain lots of valuable ideas are lost because people aren’t receptive to them in an environment away from their desk or office.” — Grant Peisley
- “The last thing I do at night is do some mental closure for the day and to mentally anticipate and plan the things that will be up for the next day. Doing this makes me look at the day within a greater scheme of things, and with that comes some creative ideas and even solutions!” — Bunny Ty
- “There is a lot to be said about playing touch and go with solving problems. Many times when I work at it for a few minutes and then go do something else — even go for a walk — the ideas start to perk.” — Michael Burns
How — and where — do you develop your best ideas?