Before Nicéphore Niépce devised the revolutionary process, ‘photography’; before a ‘Mona Lisa’ was painted and set on the frame; before the Oscar-winning ‘Titanic’ movie was conceptualized and directed; before Christian Louboutin came up with his signature designs for the coveted stilettos or before Matt Groening created the ‘Simpsons’- all these were perhaps sparked off with a small thought or precisely put, ‘an idea’. Ideas have influenced and shaped the course of our history; however small or big an occurrence has been, it’s always been triggered by ideas
Creative people live off the ideas; they breathe, eat, and sleep ideas! Creative field is a whole gamut of imaginative & artistic space; a painting, a fashion theme, a film script, a song composition, designing a new gadget or an app or any act of giving life to the imagination is considered creative. Ideation is the process of conceiving an idea which can be further developed into concepts which WORK. Although thousands of ideas hit the minds of creative people regularly, only a few see the light of the day; the reason is that just a few of them are functional, i.e., only a few can meet the market requirements (applies to creative people who work on ideas for making a living).
Ideas can happen to anyone, anywhere! Good ideas strike us when we least expect them, but not everyone takes it to the next level. Paul Smith, a celebrated fashion designer & businessman, says, it is critical for a creative person to be very observant, inquisitive, and thoughtful at all times. For, he says, an artistically carved little stone that had fallen off a bracelet which he found accidentally inspired him to create a range of signature buttons for his clothesline!
Paul McCartney from the legendary Beatles band has said, the group would use a specific formula or a template to trigger off their ideas & develop on them, early in their career. Agatha Christie, the world-renowned author, has revealed she would use a particular template which brought maximum creativity out of her. According to a group of artists working on terra cotta ornaments, nature has been their biggest inspiration for designs. Director & Actor Woody Allen says most ideas strike him while taking hot showers; for JK Rowling, the idea for Harry Potter occurred while travelling in a crowded train. So, ideas happen in the most unexpected places and times. Inspiration can be from anything under the sun, but what inspires each person is subjective.
It is so rightly said, ‘It’s not about ideas, it’s about making ideas happen.’ Ideas need to work, and something should come of it. A classic instance to quote – To combat the increasing motility rates in developing countries, a group of industrial engineers brainstormed to find a solution. Purchasing and installing the neonatal incubators to keep the premature newborns warm was not an issue, but the developing countries do not have a system to manage it, repair it or even to run it continuously without interruption. In an epiphany moment, the engineers cracked the issue with an idea! They decided to build the incubators out of the automobile parts! The Neo-nurture car-parts incubator has dashboard fans for circulation, door chimes for alarms, signal lights, the battery and so on, all of which can be locally sourced even in the mid-sized towns of Africa. The idea here was inspired by the heaping dead pile of Toyota 4 Runners cars, and they decided to re-purpose these kinds of discarded stuff.
Everything is an inspiration; ideas are only a rearrangement or combination of elements in a new or fresh way. For instance, a variety of dress sleeves are inspired by many different things, Batwing sleeves – inspired by the wings of a bat, Poet sleeves – inspired by the look of the poets from the 18th century, Lantern sleeves – inspired by the lantern lamp, and so much more. Surrounding oneself with creative people works for a few as it can trigger the thoughts; also, sometimes an incomplete idea might receive its workable-end from someone else. While working in isolation brings the best out of a few, sleep does the magic for some; while it can be bathrooms for some, vacations do it for many others. But what makes the difference is documenting the ideas and developing on them. Technological aid is available today for generating ideas in various fields, making the best of it is the way forward.
The most important thing for ideas to work is to believe in them, and only then the world will believe in it. It can be safely said ideas are not the chattels of any one person, some are born creative, and some acquire it eventually; trying and working on it is the key.