"Why do you have great ideas when you're in the shower? You're at ease. Your sense of judgment is quieted, you're making nonlinear connections, you're more likely to come up with great ideas. A shower is basically meditation for amateurs."
Dev Patnaik, co-founder and CEO of Jump
NY Times, In Pursuit of the Perfect Brainstorm, Dec. 19/10
If you want to have more great ideas, more reliably, figure out what else is like meditation--or a shower--for you. Where are you at ease? Go there more often. When are you at your least judgmental? Set some of that time aside for problem-solving. What triggers playful non-linear connections for you? Do that as much as you can.
Patnaik's observation reminds me of the famous quip about conservation: "Save water. Shower with a friend." Keep your eyes open for the friend who's often on the scene when you come up with your best ideas. It's not a coincidence. You're relaxed with them. You're uncritical. (They're uncritical, too.) Sometimes, when the banter builds, the exchanges are effortlessly loopy and exhilarating. Make time for that friend whenever they're available, and bring a sketchbook when you do.