"The best way to have good ideas is to have lots of ideas!", Linus Pauling is reputed to have said. That's a cute sentiment, well-phrased --- but obviously, there has to be some goodness among the "lots of ideas" for this method to work. If all of the notions that we generate are poor, or redundant, or unusable, then cranking out tons of them is of no real value.

As in every human endeavor, what's needed is balance --- a rational trade-off between quantity and quality --- "moderation in all things", so to speak. Best is to work on many scales. Generate lots of ideas internally, but send them through a fast filter function, to get rid of blatant stupidities quickly. Then run the survivors through other filters ... write thoughts down ... review them ... sleep on them ... share them with colleagues ... group them with related concepts ... organize them ... publish them ... and seek new applications of them to unanticipated domains. That's how good ideas can grow and evolve into great ideas.

Tuesday, July 20, 1999 at 17:23:50 (EDT) = 1999-07-20


(correlates: UnreliableNarrators, QuantityQuality, PersonalResponsibility, ...)