How to find ideas

It's part of having a creative career and something that all creative people have to wonder at least once, if not regularly. How do you find ideas?

Ideas are the lifeblood of creative work and it's not uncommon to reach a roadblock from time to time. We asked Andrew Barnum, Designer, Artist and Co-Creator of our Digital Design course, just that. How do you find ideas? This is what he had to say. 

The answer to your question starts with the action of 'finding.' 

This word sums up the practical practice of 'lighting upon' ideas when you need them and also when you don't. 
It's a process of determined, consistent deduction that combines hunting through the thinking and making generated by people, places and experience. It's the practice of broadening your horizons, taking risks and trying weird new things and learning something. You have to have your mind changed.

Where do I find ideas? 

You have to find out. Make this your new dedicated personal habit. 
  • People: Finding people doing amazing things and learning from their inspirational process. Social media is bulging with their escapades. FBook, Twitter, Instagram
  • Reading: Non-fiction (how to...), Fiction, Poetry, News commentary, Essays, Academic texts.  Maybe start here for titles.
  • News: The ABC app is a good start to enter this 24/7 world of human struggle and triumph.
  • Skills and demonstrations: YouTube. From professional tutorials through general  'how do I...' Good for design, games, animations, food, laundry tips, everything really. 
  • Performance: Get out from behind the screen and live a little. Music, Theatre, Dance, Experimental things.  
  • Cinema: As above, choose movies that really rock the cinema environment. Not films that are heading for DVD.
  • Food: Huge cultural phenomena these days. Human invention, innovation, flavour, tradition, yum.
  • Events: Conferences, Talks, Meet-ups, Festivals, not all need money. Meet people, find ideas.
  • Travel: Make plans, get lost, adapt and survive, then find your way home. Unpredict your next adventure. Invest in experience. 
Inspirational ideas are usually needed to spark a creative process in the form of a brief, a project, assignment, an event or a problem that needs solving. Immerse yourself in that problem, pull it apart, ask big questions, write and draw on big sheets of paper. Map it out. Argue and discuss.  You will generate ideas from this interaction and it will feel like something. Don't go it alone. Join an ideas team that you can depend on.
Be sure to make it fun!