I’ve written in the past about how I come up with some many good ideas (spoiler alert: it’s because I also come up with so many bad ideas). I’ve also shared how important it is to throw away the first dozen or so ideas you come up with because they’re not going to be especially original — everyone else can also come up with that first list of concepts.
Recently someone shared a link with me to Julian Shapiro’s think piece on using a Creativity Faucet to generate ideas. I appreciated the concept and feel it’s fairly accurate. The only place I really disagree is on the idea that the “first mile of piping is packed with wastewater”.
I’m not sure what’s going on with the plumbing in Julian’s house, but I don’t think it’s necessarily wastewater (though I did write an article where I likened those first ideas to pudding skin…) so much as it is cold water running through the tap when you first turn the Hot Water handle.
When you go to the sink to wash your hands (or start the shower in the morning) there is a period of time that no matter how far you turn that knob for the hot water, you’re going to get hit with a stream of ice cold water. You typically let the water run for a few seconds, swiping your fingers through the spray to check for its temperature to increase before you start to wash.
Coming up with hot ideas is much the same as asking your sink or shower to come up with hot water.
You need to “let the tap run” in order to get the flow started and give the creative process time to warm up. The cold ideas that come out of your “Creative Faucet” are the same ideas that anyone can can come up with themselves. In my opinion they aren’t really wastewater (plenty of people are out there making money with pretty obvious ideas for products and services), but the really hot ideas take a little time to warm up before they can hit a boiling point and take the world by fire.