The Art of Finding Ideas

Every trainer who has ever lived has lusted after ideas to make their training engaging.

Around the 1980’s we introduced classroom games like icebreakers. Now we are writing for eLearning we need new ideas to engage invisible learners.

Where are these ideas, how do I get them, and how do we keep them coming?

If you’ve been writing for learning long enough, you know that . . . like Solomon . . . there is nothing new under the sun.

No matter how hard you try to come up with something new, there are no new ideas

Where do we turn for ideas that work, ideas that move, ideas that persuade?

The answer . . . we “steal” them.

The moment you free yourself from “The Cult of Originality”, you realise that original ideas do not come from within.

They are given to us, from without.  A writer should not look inside, but outside, at external sources, stories, events and emotions.

Here are two of the best mining sites in the Universe.

(1) The modern media is a mainstream of ideas

In this information age, you have no reason at all to draw a blank.         Ever.

What used to take days and weeks to research and learn, can take us a mere keystroke. In fact, what we need to find now is trusted sources.

There is no drought of ideas. An interesting comment continues to make me think:

“You have more computing power in your pocket than it took to send men to the moon.  What are you doing with it?”

Wow!  Research, Read, Compile. It’s all there, right in your pocket, waiting to be discovered and reused.

Millions of ideas or thoughts to generate ideas.

So use it.  Don’t let it use you.

(2) People will give you new ideas every day

I often work with clients to create their Modlettes.  I encourage them to not only tell me what they want their users to learn but also stories behind the need to learn.  In these stories is often hidden the gems that will engage the learners.

For better or worse, a writer’s brain is working all the time. Phone calls with friends, the plumber, your spouse, your child, your client, your neighbour . . . they are all       constantly giving you ideas.

They are all constantly telling you what they . . . and the entire world . . . really want. To get a bucket full of ideas, all you have to do is listen.

 Eugene Schwartz, a business writer, says:

“You don’t have to have great ideas if you can hear great ideas.”

I stole this post from his book and he probably stole it from others.

Search more.  Listen more.  Talk less.

The Art of Finding Ideas is then . . .  the act of going out and finding ideas.

Make your Modlettes sparkle and generate an army of learners who gravitate to your training.  Go on line at

Modlettes . . . no problem

Recent Posts