Discover Your Idea Honeypot

Idea HoneypotWhere do you get your ideas?

I get asked this a lot, and you probably do to.

The answer is actually quite simple. Ideas are everywhere. Sometimes they seem to appear out of thin air, other times you have to forage for them.

So the question shouldn’t be where do you get your ideas. The question should be how do you lure them in and trap them.

A Pot Full Of Honey to Make the Ideas Come Around

The term “honeypot” refers to a lure and a trap — particularly one for malicious hackers (crackers), spies, tourists, or Winnie-the-Pooh.

Ideas and creativity in general, come when they’re lured. An idea honeypot is just a way to prime yourself for ideas to come to you, and having the means to catch them.

For example:

  • Writers read. A lot. You can’t expect to write or attract ideas for your writing if you’re not reading. Writers create a honeypot by immersing themselves in good writing.
  • Artists and designers surround themselves with inspiration. From art galleries, to design books, to online design galleries, having visual stimulation helps put them into the flow of ideas. They also look to their peers and other experts in their field.
  • Coders look at code. They look for design patterns and elegant solutions to help inspire and fuel their own projects.
  • Entrepreneurs surround themselves with innovative thinkers. From books, magazines, Websites, and feeds, to communities of inspiration and frustrated potential customers — innovative ideas for businesses come from immersing themselves in the world they hope to make better. And profit from.

Once the ideas come, they are caught in some way — notebooks, sketchbooks, PDAs, etc. Ideas come when they are welcomed, and when they are well fed. Finding your own way to entice them to come, then snagging them to be put to good use, is a crucial ingredient for creativity.

Do you have an idea honeypot?


  1. My honeypot is both looking at photos and reading other blogs that deal with the topics I want to write about. I don’t want to be rehashing the same old stuff, so I look to see where I have a different perspective from other bloggers.

    When I have some topics in mind, I look through my old photos and through the Creative Commons section of Flickr to find a suitable picture. I don’t start writing until I have a picture that fits, and often it will generate new ideas.

    I just finished redoing my About page at Transforming Stress Into Personal Power. I looked through old photos for inspiration and ended up using three of my daughter when she was little. Once I found them I realized they express what I’m trying to do, so all I had to do was add a few words.

    I knew I was a visual person, but I’m just starting to use that fact for generating ideas.

  2. I get most of my ideas from interactions I have from other people. What problems do they go through? What problems do I go through with them? What do they experience as people, citizens, consumers. I relate their feelings to mine, then compare and contrast. I get a lot of ideas from the opinions and thoughts of others.

  3. I like to attend trade shows in industries I know nothing about. This enables me to have “fresh” ideas and bring a whole new perspective to things.

    Thanks for the great piece….

  4. Great post Tony! I do many of these things you suggest, but my problem is capturing. Thank goodness for my razor phone! A simple push of a button and I can make a voice recording of an idea when it comes. I also just put a pad next to my bed. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had an idea come to me in the middle of the night, and I was too lazy to get up to record it! I rarely remember the idea in the morning!! The pad has been a big help!

  5. I never really thought of myself as a visual person, but after reading Jean’s comment about using photos to generate new ideas I realized that I am a visual person after all. I have recently found that looking through my photos on Flickr helps me turn ideas obtained while reading into actual writing. Thanks!

  6. Tony,

    Thanks for this wonderful post. Well, I also get ideas from the people I interact with and events happening around me. With all these, I never run short of ideas.

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