The Edison Challenge

Thomas Edison had a very unorthodox approach to his creativity. He applied the principles of mass production to his work, giving himself idea quotas. He was required (by himself) to come up with a new inventions every 10 days, and a major invention every six months.

That’s a tall order. But he set this goal for himself, and he did it. And it worked out pretty well for him. The man held 1,093 patents. He’s one of the most well known, prolific inventors of our time. His inventions, from the light bulb to the motion picture camera, still impact our lives today.

There’s a funny thing about ideas. The more you encourage your brain to have them, the more will pour out of you. It’s a strange phenomenon, and one I’ve experienced myself. If I make myself sit down and brainstorm for just five minutes every day, it’s only a week or so before the ideas start attacking me 24/7. They’re not all amazing, and I don’t use every single one. But the more ideas you have, the more you have to choose from.

As I’ve discussed on the Juicer before, Ray Bradbury had more ideas for stories than he knew what to do with (read the article here).

When it comes to creativity, quantity is critical for quality. Letting bad ideas out will help you have more ideas, which will get you to the good ideas.

So. In this spirit, I present the 2012 Edison Challenge. Pick a creative project you want to be a priority this year. And commit to come up with five ideas for it every single day. They don’t all have to be usable, they just have to be ideas. Write them down. Keep them all together in a single file. It might be hard the first few days. But soon, I promise they’ll be flowing out of you faster than you can write them down.

Are you with me? Sign up in the comments!


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