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7.6. Invention 'So What?'


How To Invent (Almost) Anything > 7. How The Brain Works > 7.6. Invention 'So What?'

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So what have we learned in this chapter that will help us invent? Here are some of the key points to remember:

  • If the primitive parts of your brain are in control, you cannot invent. Fear is a big creative block. Even desire may get you only what you want to see.
  • If you have thought about something a lot, you are likely get stuck. Inventing often means breaking out of thinking ruts to make new thought patterns.
  • Thoughts link together. The more thoughts you have had, the more thoughts you can have. Any thinking exercises or new experience is good for developing the ability to invent.
  • Breaking things down into smaller chunks is a simple and natural principle for seeing things in different lights. Great inventions can come from changing just small parts of things. You can also chunk up to change concepts and purposes.
  • We think in words. A larger vocabulary will enable you to understand more things and hence use them in invention.
  • Do not try to take in too much at once: your short-term memory is a bottleneck. Creating concepts and models in larger chunks is a good way of handling bigger things.
  • Avoid generalising what you see: find many ways to classify things. When things do not fit easily into one of you little classification boxes, neither push it harder nor ignore it. Just hold it and wonder about it.
  • Find ways of understanding things: build lots of mental models. Each model is a lens which can be used to examine the world either from a different viewpoint or in greater detail.
  • Build links between your thoughts, making unlikely associations that can lead to good ideas from many places. Ask ‘What’s it like?’ to get off the beaten path and find those weak associations.
  • Watch out for emotions! They come attached to many memories and thoughts, and can lead to the lower brain taking over our better judgement.

The other sections in this chapter:

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