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A Technique for Producing Ideas
Read in 13 min.
Listen in 16 min.
Learn the key ideas of the book by James Webb Young

A Technique for Producing Ideas

5 steps to produce new ideas

A Technique for Producing Ideas begins by introducing itself as a short text that can be used by creative people from all over the world. First published in 1940, it is a book that has helped advertisers, poets, writers, painters, and many other artists from a variety of disciplines, to produce new ideas. The text, whilst concise, is brimming with content, and outlines a 5-step method that can be used to help us be more creative. The method suggested by James Webb Young promises to help you come up with memorable ideas, as well as developing the ability to generate new ideas on demand. Producing new ideas can be a complex undertaking, and yet all it takes for anyone to feel like a real creative talent is to learn how to use Young’s method. In fact, inspiration only plays a small role, when it comes to generating new ideas, because what really matters, is the creative process that you develop over time, as you continue to build on your experience.

A Technique for Producing Ideas
Read in 13 min.
Listen in 16 min.

Inspiration is only a small part of producing new and original ideas

It would be nice to be able to come up with creative ideas one after the other, bringing about original ideas that can be used right away with a snap of your fingers, but it is nowhere near that easy. And if producing new ideas is already difficult enough in itself, then producing original ideas is even more so.

One of the problems comes from the misconception that our ideas are born of inspiration. This could not be further from the truth. Inspiration is only a small part of creative work, as ideas actually arise as a result of a creative process that develops over time and with experience. 

Young talks about a method which can be followed, consisting of a series of specific steps. Once you understand the method, it will become much easier to generate new ideas, but above all, it will make the whole process easily replicable.

In order to be able to produce new ideas, you need to create a fertile space that you can tend to, every day, and which reflects your personal experiences and living environment. It is here, in this space, that creativity takes shape. Creativity is, in fact, strongly influenced by the environment in which it is immersed. 

Once you have gathered as much information as possible, you need to understand the true meaning of the resulting knowledge, reworking it to bring its various components together to form new connections or relationships between them. This is where your ideas will come from. The stronger the ideas, the more powerful the images they represent, and the more effective the communication will be, because it will resonate in the consumer's mind.

In advertising, a good idea sells a product. It is not the product that is being sold, but the idea. 


The key ideas of "A Technique for Producing Ideas"

Inspiration is only a small part of producing new and original ideas
Fill a blank page with writing
To come up with new ideas, you have to combine the old knowledge with the new
The concept of word-symbol in advertising and the kaleidoscope effect
James Webb Young’s 5-step method
Practical tips for developing new ideas
Take-home message
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