You know what is incredibly frustrating?

Feeling like everyone else has the next big idea…before me.  I typically ask myself, “How do they come up with ideas?”and “What am I doing wrong?”

I’ve always wanted to be the guy with the ideas.  The guy that was able to find cool concepts and bring them to the table in a creative meeting and be able to flush them out.  However, without a system for the ideas that I came across on a daily basis there really is no hope for remembering everything.

I had to become a curator. But how?

At a recent conference, I had the opportunity sit in on one Luke McElroy’s classes Curating Great Ideas.  Luke shared many options on best practices when curating great ideas and something clicked….  I’m the type of guy that likes systems and processes, and I don’t have time to sit and “curate” all day. I realized what I needed was a “process of curation.”  I needed to figure out how to pick out the things that worked for me and put them into practice.

After taking many notes I was able to identify two things that I could put into practice.  Two things that were simple and my best shot at making this work.  Those two were Aggregation and Organization.

Aggregation

As you are sitting there reading this, look around.  What around you inspires you? Is it the color of the walls, is it a texture in the flooring.  Is it the view out your window.  Just sit back and take it all in. Aggregation by definition is about pulling things together into a cluster.  It is all about gathering; about collecting. Take pictures, write a note to yourself, jot down the color, pin something, bookmark it, do whatever you have to do so you have that piece of information. Gather everything you can; everything that inspires you; everything that you can build upon.

Organization

This second part is where it gets good but it is also where most people fail. You may be scared of the word “organized” because thoughts of file cabinets and flow charts become front and center.  Don’t fear, most of the organizational tips are things you are probably using on a daily basis.  So it should be fairly simple.  Here are two of my favorite “go tos” when curating great ideas.

Evernote

Evernote has so many benefits and can really help you organize your ideas.  Here are just a few….

  • Can be used across multiple devices (phone, iPad, computer etc)
  • Tagging – this is useful if an idea could belong to different categories. So instead of having to duplicate the note and put into multiple folders (i.e. Christmas stage design idea or Easter stage design) you can tag the note with “Christmas” and “Easter” and search via tag.
  • Optical Character Recognition – Basically it can read the text on a picture and make it readable and searchable within Evernote.

Pinterest

You can say what you will about Pinterest but the designers of the site have made it simple.  The platform gives the user an  effective way to catalog and organize quotes, pics, textures, websites and anything else you need to remember all in one place.  Plus it is cloud based and collaborative.

So, how does this relate to what you’re doing? Everyone is involved in something. Everyone is being influenced and influencing others. Everyone, whether they will admit it or not, wants to be the idea guy or girl. They want to be the person who has the answers. It’s critical to take the time to notate, pin, organize, and collect your thoughts, concepts, and ideas in order for them to come to reality.

 

If you want to learn more, check out Luke’s Blog on Curating Great Ideas.