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Let No Idea Escape

Ideas are precious and fragile and tend to show up when we're in the shower, in bed or stuck in traffic. So we forget them. Try to capture 100 percent of your ideas—on your smartphone, in a notebook, on the back of receipts or boarding passes. Go for quantity. Defer judgment until later, when you start to sift through them. You'll probably find that you have a thousand concepts—and most of them are bad.

At IDEO, we start a brainstorming session on an empty whiteboard, and in the next 60 minutes we try to fill it with at least a hundred fresh ideas. (By the way, if you number the ideas as you go, no self-respecting brainstorm group would ever want to stop at number 97.) We're happy if we come out with a few leads.