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Idea Generation

Seek Stimulation From Randomness

Crucial insights arise when we least expect them -- in the shower, at the market. We explore ways to seek out the randomness that fires inspiration.

Some of the most productive creative minds rely on a periodic self-administered dose of randomness to stay stimulated. Stimulation is not only necessary when developing new ideas, but is also critical when refining solutions to a particular problem. Every brain benefits from new angles that often escape your traditional point of view.

Some creative professionals credit past mistakes as moments of realization. At this year’s TED conference, fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi explained that a lot of his “design ideas come from mistakes or tricks of the eye.” Mistakes are illuminating because they are unexpected. But you don’t need to screw up in order to find randomness.

Consider a few strategies for building randomness into everyday work and life:

Take advantage of mistakes.

  • When you do make an error, allow yourself to briefly continue down the same path. If only for an alternative perspective (which is sometimes difficult to get), use every mistake as a lens to see things differently.

Travel without a map.

  • When we venture beyond our comfort zone, we often over-compensate with extensive planning, maps, and itineraries. Instead, consider traveling somewhere without plans. Behance has interviewed many prolific Creatives that cite getting lost as the best way to find new solutions.

Explore projects in unfamiliar creative fields

  • (and if you don’t mind a Behance self-reference): When our team developed the Behance Network, we purposely featured a cross-section of work from different fields. The featured gallery always includes an eclectic set of striking projects from different fields. And if you’re brave, you can take a daily stroll through the most recent gallery that contains unfiltered brand new projects published by creatives around the world. Other sites that offer great random stimulation include our friends at NOTCOT and the great websites featured daily on designer site QBN.

This tip was written by Scott Belsky, Behance Team. Explore more tips, and check out Behance’s guest postings for small businesses trying to make ideas happen, hosted at American Express’ OpenForum.
Comments (3)
  • albertvzyl

    Spending some time in my hammock with a notebook does the same thing for me.<br />
    <br />
    Just hanging in the hammock, I suddenly realize that my mind has been working on an interesting idea or problem.<br />
    <br />
    Hence the notebook, so that I can catch these nuggets before they slip away.<br />
    <br />
    Albert (

  • richoid

    One of my favorite tricks is to go to a Borders or Barns & Noble magazine rack, and read magazines that are completely different from what I’m normally interested in. Not dumb stuff like People or Sports Illustrated, but maybe something on filmmaking, asian culture or ceramics. It wakes up the brain to see the world through others’ eyes.

  • Jamie Kalvestran

    I travel without a map or itinerary all the time! It’s fun and stimulating

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