How Do You Come Up With Your Best Ideas?

More

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

Tech.Biz.Medicine.Ideas.
See full coverage

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.

Thanks for playing.
Jump to comments
Presented by

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. 

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Business

Just In