Linus Pauling was a two time Nobel Prize winner and a very smart man.  When asked about how came up with great Ideas he said:

“If you want to come up with a great idea, first have many ideas”

This sounds counter-intuitive. Why in the world should we spend time and effort coming up with a large number of useless ideas?

Here are some reasons:

We get the law of averages on our side. The more ideas we come up with, the better our chance of having a great one

Ideas breed ideas. Once we have a lot of ideas written down, others will flow out of the existing ones.

It makes it harder to apply censorship. Having an ambitious target makes us less willing to discard ideas.

You are forced to stretch. Once you temporarily run out of ideas (and it will happen!), you will have to go to strange places and consider unusual things to come up with your quota.

In the world of logic quality will always trump quantity.

In the world of Idea generation, quantity will lead to quality.

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