Jim is an innovation consultant who leads new product development programs for companies all over the world. I was lucky enough to meet him when we were asked to collaborate on a project for Sargento and we’ve stayed in touch ever since.
Unlike most books on creativity that tell you to unleash your inner child or think like da Vinci, Idea-Links presents a straight-forward, step-by-step process by which anyone can develop more and more importantly, better ideas for the challenges they face.
The whole concept of Idea-Links is pretty simple. Observe what’s going on around you. Analyze those observations so you understand why they work. Then store that information in a way that allows you to easily retrieve it when you’re trying to solve a problem.
This made so much sense to me, because whether it’s been commercials I’ve produced, products I’ve developed or songs I’ve written, the ideas, though hopefully original, never really came out of nowhere. They were always inspired by some bit of knowledge that had been rolling around in my brain. Idea-Links demonstrates how to do this in a more systemic and disciplined way, rather than just waiting for serendipity to run it’s course.
I’ve read a lot of books on creativity – Gordon McKenzie’s Orbiting the Giant Hairball, Robert Sutton’s Weird Ideas that Work, Seth Godin’s Purple Cow, etc. – and while they’re all inspiring, Idea-Links is most useful book on creativity I’ve come across.