Where do ideas come from and how do we improve the process of finding these?

If we want to improve the process of innovation today, we first have to understand, how ideas evolve. How does our brain suddenly have a light bulb go off, leading to a fresh new idea?

Maybe it needs a genius to to have that kind of a “Eureka” moment?

According to historians, this kind of moments are just legends….
They claim, that all kinds of idea finding, is a slow step-by-step process to solve the problem. But, this still does not tell us, how ideas appear in our heads…

A little bit of history in my life..

A theory says, that the creation of ideas, owes a big part to the connection of old knowledge and experiences to new situations. Building analogies of a problem, makes it easier to find a solution. The Roman architect, Vitruv for example used an analogy on how to build the best theater. 2000 Years ago, he compared the behavior of sound in a room with ocean-waves. He said:

“The first wave, when there is no obstruction to interrupt it, does not break up the second or the following waves, but they all reach the ears of the lowest and highest spectators without an echo.”

The same was seen when, in the 16th century, Johannes Kepler discovered that gravity of the sun was effecting the planets of our solar-system. The idea, that a force will effect an object that far away was an inconceivable speculation at that time of the history. Kepler compared the phenomenon with the light of the sun, which is traveling gigantic distances being invisible, but lights up the earth. That helped him to understand and put the theory into words.

With that in mind, we have discovered a big part of idea finding and innovation. The process can be improved, instead of waiting for a genius to find analogies for us.

A little bit of future by my side…

According to Edd Gent at Singularity Hub, the combination of Crowdsourcing and AI could be the key, and “dramatically speed up the search for these parallels”. The best approach of finding analogies for a problem is, to abstract the problem. Humans tend to focus on the surface-details of a problem as well as a limited volume of knowledge a single person can consume. Therefore, it can be a challenge to attack bigger problems. Humans are just not efficient enough to connect the knowledge of all needed sectors.

A recent paper in PNAS , deals with the combination of AI with a Crowd, where the process, is described as followed. A problem is given to Crowdworkers, which describe the problem to an AI in small parts. As soon as the AI understands the small problems, it looks for solutions to similar problems and passes them back to the Crowdworkers, which use them. The system leads to roughly twice as many ideas, rated as good by human judges. The authors of the paper admit, that they just scratched the surface of possible improvements through connecting humans to AI.

A little bit of ideas is what I need…

For the beginning, you have a problem, which needs a Crowdsourced solution, just contact us!

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