Some say that the days of original inventions are over. Innovation is the word which is being bandied about now. We might not discover the modern equivalent of fire or reinvent the wheel, but as long as innovations keep surprising us, the world will be better for it. Innovations and creative ideas don’t need white lab coats or test tubes. They can come to any of us even while we are walking the dog.
It could be anything from an idea of a novel to how to rid the world of plastics. So, have you ever looked at a problem ‘creatively’? Maybe not. Try some creative brainstorming with the help of these websites. It might not be an exercise for the next Nobel, but it is whole lot of fun. Who knows? You could end up with a great business idea or something that solves a problem in your own backyard.
Watching the superbly compiled videos on TED is one of the better ways to spend time. The site is all about ‘ideas worth spreading’. And after watching the latest on TED, I head to TED Conversations which is similar to a Q&A platform for sharing ideas. There are no entry barriers, and you can literally bounce ideas of greater brains than yours. You can easily sign-in and get the free TED member account which allows you to start conversations of your own. Check out the popular topics and browse through the featured conversations (TED’s own selections of the most intriguing conversations). You can look at ideas, questions, and debates.
Here’s a sample – Why aren’t there playgrounds for adults?
Just like TED, we have gone to Kickstarter quite a few times here at MakeUseOf.com. Kickstarter may be a funding platform for creative projects, but it is a fountain of ideas. From Art to Technology, the creative footprint is vast. For instance, with my interest in photography, I am learning the many ways of creating and launching thematic photography projects.
Springwise is another oldie but a goldie. On the face of it is a blog that’s slanted towards entrepreneurship and creative business ideas, but that’s the other name of the innovation game isn’t it. Start with the Idea Database on the menu. It is neatly organized into discrete areas. Maybe, you can pick an idea and replicate it in your part of the world. How does the idea of a browser extension that signs users into websites only when they approach a computer grab you?
100 Whats of Creativity is actually a book that’s available on Amazon. It is meant to be a thinking tool, and Don Snyder the author has made it available for free as a Slideshare slide which I have pointed to. It is actually a very simple book which should encourage you to think a bit differently about the things around you, and maybe ‘think up’ something from there. Ask yourself the 100 questions mentioned din the slide and try to untangle the cobwebbed way we think of things around us. The answers to the 100 questions may not create a great invention, but they just break your mental blocks.
More Inspiration is a very unpretentious site that lists innovations that are happening around us. The site sources and links to other websites that feature innovative breakthroughs. You can submit your own, but I think you would be more interested in browsing through them first. You can also do an advanced search by using factors like industry and function. Some of the ideas here could in turn spark ideas for a cross-innovation. Nearly 4000+ innovations are listed here. So…how about some ad-supported free underwear or an algae powered eco-lamp!
As a writer first and foremost, I had to include this. I sort of missed this when I wrote about 10 More Websites That Help Cure Writer’s Block With Writing Prompts, but better late than never. The simple writing aid gives you cues which help you put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and get the ball rolling. What sets off the creative process is not the main event, but the secondary conflict that forces you to think a little more deeply about the whole scenario. Check the screen above for an example. If you don’t like it, you can click on the refresh link to generate a new one.
A social bookmarking site as a creative spade? Why not…because the byword with StumbleUpon is serendipity, and that is something we can always use when the next big idea is eluding us. Pick a few of your favorite topics and ‘stumble’ through them with clicks on the Stumble button. StumbleUpon combines lazy browsing with interesting discoveries. It’s hit and miss, but definitely worth a try.
Innovation and discovery doesn’t end here with these seven sites. We have previously looked at a few other ways to light the spark:
- The Top 5 Websites To Spark Your Creativity
- 5 Different Ways To Generate Ideas Using Brainstorming Apps
How do you exercise your creativity? Do you deliberately go for it, or do you trust time for the eureka moment? Tell us about your favorite creative aid. Some of us need the fire. Next up, we will look at a few ways you can share your big ideas with the world.
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