“Where do ideas come from?”

Teachable Moment SM.ideas.Parker_NewsletterArtwork art by Curtis Parker

A brilliant idea can change your life. Just ask Steve Jobs. And think about it – how would one incredible idea affect your work? How would it affect your personal creating? Your career? Your confidence and opportunities?

These days, new ideas aren’t just inspiring; they’re essential. A narrow-gauge mindset doesn’t work in modern business. Consumers aren’t loyal to cheap commodities. No, they love the remarkable, the human, the unique. And those ideas don’t just fall from the sky. (Usually.)

So where do they originate? Since Scott Hull Associates is in the business of ideas, I figured our artists ought to know. They surprised me with their answers, citing everything from “cross-pollinating synergetic associations” to cracks in the driveway. Enjoy. -Scott

Aren't you silly...Ideas come from the stork, just like babies. Andrea Eberbach

A good problem-solving idea is birthed only after considering and rejecting a lot of bad ideas first. Von Glitschka

I'm not sure where they come from, but I'm pretty sure – starting in 2016 – that there will be a federal tax on them. -Mark Riedy

Generating good ideas is more often than not hard work, and the effort needs to be applied where it will do the most good both for the artist and for the resulting work. -John Maggard

A mysterious internal response to an ever-changing external set of chance meetings. -Lorraine Tuson

Ideas come whenever I am not looking for them. I have to take in all of the information and let it bounce around in my head for a bit. Then, when I am doing something that is not at all related to my problem, the ideas flow. I think it is the act of opening up your mind to all kinds of thoughts that you get those unexpected connections that lead to creativity. -Lisa Ballard

I think ideas come from the process of play. -Penelope Dullaghan

The most common comment I hear when asked this is, “ideas are everywhere”. But to me that's a cop-out because our society cannot see the forest through the trees. For me ideas come from staring at the stars, or a plant in the crack on the driveway. Yes, the Internet is also full of useful images, but where does one start? Back to the basics, I say! For me this is an endless journey, because problem solving is a passion of mine. -Geoff Smith

Ideas are connections of thoughts, and there are as many kinds of connections to make as grains of sand on the beach. Ideas are formed from collisions, fusions, impacts-- being playful, flexible, and curious with thoughts to see what can happen next. No thought or idea is too precious, and they can always be taken apart or regrown differently. Connections can be related directly to the work, or it can be connecting with another human being through conversation, remixing content to see what comes together, exploring something unfamiliar, looking at something like a stranger, asking why? how? and so on.... They don't need to be approached with force, but sometimes just the softest combination of thoughts can lead to the answer. - Meg Hunt

Once all of the play is done, it’s time to see which of the ideas might have merit for the problem at hand. Maybe some that are seemingly way off base will lead to something else by association. This is the portion of the event that we must judge or deem relevant to solving the problem. That, and a healthy amount of sketching, usually bring good results. -Larry Moore