Here is the premise of the Idea Machine exercise:
- Come up with a topic
- Write down a list of 10 ideas.
- Do this every day.
Let me explain.
Every day, get out a piece of paper or the notes on your phone and write down a topic, such as "10 Books I Could Write", then proceed to come up with the titles of 10 books you could write. Come up with a topic and repeat this every day. It only takes a few minutes, and you should be able to easily work it into your morning routine.
When you first try this you will likely pick a topic that might seem easy to you. However, no matter what the topic is, those first 3-4 ideas come pretty quick in my experience. Ideas 5, 6, 7... those are more difficult to come up with for me. Altucher says if coming up with 10 ideas is hard, you should go for 20. Why? Because you will be forced to let go of the notion that your ideas need to be perfect.
This is an exercise in discipline, quantity, and execution - not quality. Often, the search for the perfect ideas leaves us hung up on our first reflexes. When you start to push through those ideas in the middle (which can often be terrible ideas), you may find that some brilliance lies on the other end.
Applying this to Video Production (or other fields).
I think this is a great exercise simply for the brain-bending benefits, but it can have some practical applications as well. I have used this in my production work and business on numerous occasions. Here are some examples:
- 10 different opening shots for a video.
- 10 people I can interview for a project.
- 10 businesses that can use my services.
- 10 locations within 10 miles that I have never filmed.
- 10 ways to close out the video.
Now, when I do this I don't always come up with great ideas, but I do come up with new ideas. Often, one of those ideas makes it's way into a video or impacts part of my business. I have used this while writing scripts, on-location, at the beginning of an edit – basically, anytime I want to get a fresh idea. Another practical piece of advice is to use this to create action-steps. Have an idea for a new business? Write down the next 10 steps to make it a reality.