Research & Development for Creativity

As we’ve discussed, people usually fall into 1 of 2 categories. Either you are idea drowning or in an idea drought. It seems like you’re out of luck when you can’t come up with a single creative thought, but sometimes it’s even worse when you’re drowning in them.

What do you do when you have too many things you want to do?

One strategy smart creatives use, is sending their ideas to “Research & Development.”

R&D is a great big business concept, but you don’t have to work at Apple to employ it. You don’t even need employees. Here’s how it works…

The gist: The basic concept is that you can’t possibly pursue all your ideas at once, so you need a sort of vetting process to help you narrow down your focus into what sounds like it will work now and what doesn’t. Additionally, the practice of “sending ideas to Research & Development” helps you check them off your list and allows you to move forward without feeling like you need to shut out all additional ideas that rain down on you.

Pick your “products”: No need to dismiss any ideas or toss them out a window. Keep them on a running list, but pick a select few you want to move forward with (say, 4-8). Mark which “products” you want to investigate further by designating them as ready to go to R&D

Managers or Marinating?: Next, from your R&D ideas, you need to decide which ones you’re ready to send off to a “manager” and which ones you want to just let marinate in your brilliant idea-producing brain a bit more.

Manager Status: Here, you pick a trusted partner to take over your idea a bit. Either they can start to gather feedback about the market, research for you, or maybe they’re able to start running with your idea. Either way, explain what you’d like their help with and start delegating.

Marinating Status: It’s so much easier to flesh out ideas a bit more when you only have a few to think on. Have your 2-3 marinating ideas in the back of your mind as you go about your days, and jot down additional thoughts you have on them. If you’re in an ideastorm phase, you’ll naturally move these ideas forward just by having them in the back of your mind.

Evaluate (Market/Meat Crusher/Maybe Later): Pick a time every couple of weeks to check in on your R&D ideas and determine whether they’re good enough to keep moving forward with (Market), whether you need to toss them out forever (Meat Crusher) or just put them back on your on-going idea list to check back with in a few months (Maybe Later).


Using the Research & Development concept helps you pare down your focus and get intentional about actually doing something with all your ideas. You’ll find yourself feeling less like you’re drowning and more like you’re dominating.

And who doesn’t want that?



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