ever had a thought or an idea, woke up from sleep with a thought, were in the middle of doing something and an idea came out of nowhere. did you take a moment and write it down, or make a quick sketch of it? or did you forget to jot it down somewhere and forget about something that might have been good, yet, your memory lost it forever? while an actual sketch/note it is not needed so much in our digital and paperless society with our tools, in my analog past, I filled hundreds of books with ideas and sketch’s- mainly from the morning brainstorm sessions in cafes. now I am going through all of them and realizing how many ideas one will generate if you simply take the discipline and consistently work on something.
I remember it was in the 90s when I thought voice recognition software, 3d modeling/animation, and the internet would somehow make the idea of a sketchbook obsolete. for the past 25 years, I have waited as the issue of that idea between the pen in your hand, the delay between your brain and technology really working in real time, and the ease of creating a digital database, or a mind map of images could be a reality. like filling so many sketchbooks, I have no idea how many various software ideas and products I tried to make this reality and NOT have to have a full crew sitting there constantly working on servers and such.
a simple act of drawing or jotting something down is the way I can shut off my mind and not have to remember whatever I was working on. the idea is then locked into the subconscious to stew and cook with the others for a bit. what is ironic, is that my sketchbooks are similar to the reaction of smell for many people. smell is the most powerful tool to trigger memories. I still remember the idea of seeing if we could do something with Alzheimer’s and short-term memory with using image, sound and smell cues. while we never got any short-term memory to work, I am still amazed at the elderly people who grew up in the depression and with a family farm at how vivid they could flash back into remembering their past when we let them smell, “fresh tilled earth.”
I have the same reaction when I open a sketchbook. while I want to puke at how bad I sketch, what I needed was a way to get the ideas in a form where either I could spend time 3d modeling it – or another human who had some visualization skills could imagine a finished idea. usually most folks can’t go beyond the abstraction to imagine something refined and tangible. thankfully, it is my note, so I can go back and understand all the odd pieces of the various sketches rolling out to create a solution or idea.
maybe I just realized why I get frustrated in today’s modern coffee shop. in the old days you would see many people starting their days reading a paper, but you have a lot of folks just sitting together and having a talk about something. today you have a bunch of people all’s staring into their mobiles and few to none are talking to each other. even the baristas have somehow copped some mentality to seemingly have one speed (slow) and for whatever reason think that they are hip performers of some sort. it makes the idea of going to a coffee shop really lame. I haven’t brainstormed in a café in years now – and I must confess, I do miss what the social space was virus what it has become today.
I digress – as I clean up my old piles of books, I am amazed how MUCH work went into some ideas with the spatial audio, immersion systems, show technologies - and how the ideas today would actually work well. perhaps that is why the focus of what we are doing is a bit of a retrenchment in taking the ideas cores and sticking them into one skunkworks space – as it is so easy to get lost in the ability to cross-pollinate ideas when you stick a product on the market and have to scale it. it is like today's vertical farm equipment. most of it is either space age cost, or crap that is cobbled together. there is a middle ground where form and function can work together.
but for that to happen, you have to have almost like a collaborative skunkworks. I have tried to do the remote team type – which works fine for a somewhat flushed out idea – but for new and the speed and way to maximize the best product/solution – it is better to do in that small team live – together in one spot.
right now I am trying to figure out where on this planet that one spot is – as the impact of these few things we are working on – can benefit the entire world.
that is what makes getting up each day so exciting. but if I didn’t write the simple thoughts or sketched down, take the time to learn the discipline to brainstorm and create – there wouldn’t be anything there.
take your pen, a little sketchbook – digital cameras today are great for images, video storage, etc. but what it lacks is the speed to sift through all the unrelated pieces. it might make an interesting AI type algorithm or product, but I just don’t have the time to play with it since we are focusing elsewhere– but when you are working on new, I found not looking at anyone else’s ideas is best. instead ask yourself the question and blue sky, “what would I really want the solution to be for the problem?”
I think that question has led me to far more breakthrough ideas than ever looking at anything someone else has done.
if you want a linear progression life. just follow. if you want a fulfilling and challenging life – work from the perspective of the consumer and end user.
as for the perfect digital sketchbook/database/idea catalog gizmo that allows real-time flow of ideas and speed. I still haven’t found a more affordable one than the sketchbook and a permanent ink pen and for just blabbing about thoughts that no one cares about. if these 10 minutes brainstorm rambles get put in a format that one day I will go back and read through what is mainly junk and sift out the few gems in all of it.
funny. I look back at the las vegas version of the “you” show and smile. it really is different and something audiences might go, “wow, that was a new way to see and be immersed into a live show.”
no shortage of ideas. just the limits of time and money to make them reality. but I am working up that space to change that – I am too frustrated trying to make other solutions reality in a “shared” and “buzzword” world that is too busy talking and less busy actually doing. I guess it isn’t very popular to have to “do” versus “like” in our instant gratification world. it simply takes too much time and money if you make something. odd, no?