A Technique for Producing Ideas

A Technique for Producing Ideas by James Webb Young (1965)

Young proposes that all ideas are the result of five identifiable stages of rumination, whether they are followed consciously or not:

  1. Gather information, and not just what is specific to your problem domain. Novelty comes from mashing seemingly unrelated concepts together.
  2. Review the information — collate your information in some fashion and go over it. A lot.
  3. Do something else. Get distracted from whatever problem you are trying to solve.
  4. “Eureka! I have it!”
  5. Refine your idea — first drafts are never perfect, so keep polishing.