To think just a few short months ago I drove myself crazy by just taking notes all in one place like I’d always done. Completely ineffective, but a classic case of “you don’t know what you don’t know.”
Enter an Idea System. According to the course contract and syllabus for CRS 559 – Principles in Creative Problem Solving with Dr. Roger Firestien an Idea System is so necessary that it is the first assignment in the first class of the master’s program. Here’s what it is…
Idea System: An idea system is a portable method for keeping track of new opportunities, challenges, questions and ideas. Some examples are: spiral notebooks, small pads of paper, pack of 3 X 5 cards and use of digital technology. The idea system should demonstrate depth and continuity. All students will be expected to maintain their own Idea System; it will be reviewed during lunch on Saturday May 30 and graded on a twenty-point scale (25 points).
I’ve always been brimming with ideas. And I have endless half full spiral notebooks of notes, notes and more notes. Some of those notes were valuable ideas, buried in between to-do lists, doodling and other things that have no long term value.
Why hadn’t I ever thought of an Idea System before now? The sad reality is that I wasn’t esteeming my “ideas” above all the other things that came to mind. I valued them enough to write them down but not enough to create a special place for them and set them aside.
I don’t know if this resonates with anyone else but your ideas are valuable. Find a way to capture them in one centralized location. Review them over and over again, build upon them and allow them to spark new ideas. Use whatever method works best for you. I love technology but when my ideas are flowing, my thinking seems lubricated when I put a physical pen to paper and so I decided I would use nice journal notebooks. My first Idea System Journal was given to me by my dear friend Deb Cwynar Miller over a year ago with my favorite bible verse on the cover (which she didn’t even know) and an inspiring message inside. This brings me to my next point…
If you encounter an idea person/thinker in your life, introduce them to the Idea System by getting them a journal and writing an inspiring message inside. It might be a life-changing gift as they fill those pages with the brilliance that lies within.