University of Texas Professor Art Markman has a great article on idea generation over at Fast Company's website this week. Markman describes the "high" that people often feel at the end of an idea generation session. He argues that we should be careful about that positive emotional rush that we feel in that moment. Markman explains:
Unfortunately, some amount of the strong positive feeling you are having in that moment is a result of the idea generation process itself. Completing a goal makes you feel good, and coming up with a potential solution to a hard problem makes you feel good. In addition, positive social interactions make you feel good, and group idea generation fits that bill. Finally, research demonstrates that fast thinking makes you feel good. When the ideas are flying around the room, there is a lot of fast thinking going on.So, the entire setting of idea generation creates lots of positive feeling. Then, everyone looks around the room for the source of that feeling. And they settle on the idea you just created as a team. In that moment, that idea is not just good, it is the best idea ever.
How do you avoid a rush to judgment? How can you protect yourself against falling head over heels for your idea a bit too quickly? Markman argues that it's a good idea to step back for a bit. Go for a walk, he says. Take some time to go do something else, and then return to your idea. See how it looks after you have slept on it. Don't let yourself get caught up in the emotions of the idea generation process itself. That seems like terrific advice to me!