How Do You Come Up With Your Best Ideas?

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Inspiration is a tricky thing. It often strikes us when we least expect it, half-asleep, or in the shower, or both.

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The eureka moment, that invisible hand that pushes innovation forward, is elusive. "An epiphany is a different way of solving problems than the problem solving we do every day," wrote Steve Blank in The Atlantic earlier this month. "In an epiphany, you see the entire answer to a complex problem without realizing you were even consciously thinking about it."

So, how do you get to eureka? Relaxation helps. But so does distraction. Being around people helps. But brainstorms don't do any good, as Jonah Lehrer famously described in a January article in The New Yorker.

For Innovation Week, we're turning the question over to you, Atlantic readers: How do you come up with your best ideas? Do you work best alone or in groups? Do you find your muse in solitude or in a bustling coffee shop?

Share your creativity secrets in the comment section, tell us on Facebook, submit a post at The Atlantic Tumblr, or tweet your thoughts to us with the hashtag #InnovationWeek. We'll compile your answers into a post later this week. The longer and smarter you write, the more likely it is that we'll publish you.

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Jared Keller is a former associate editor for The Atlantic and The Atlantic Wire and has also written for Lapham's Quarterly's Deja Vu blog, National Journal's The Hotline, Boston's Weekly Dig, and Preservation magazine. 

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