Need Big Ideas? Try This Tool

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"Need Big Ideas? Try This Tool"

Editor's Note: The late Edward Lowe's creativity extended far beyond his business ventures. An author of two business books and several volumes of poetry, he ardently recorded his observations on business and many other subjects.

He even wrote several "General Rules" for entrepreneurial success, based on what he learned in almost 50 years of experience in creating new products, including one that spawned a nearly $1 billion industry.

The adjacent column looks at one of Ed Lowe's time-honored tools for success: the art of " pondering."

He began pondering on his own as a source for inspiration, and behavioral scientists hail it as a creative tool for entrepreneurs. "What Ed did intuitively is known in creative-process circles as incubation," notes Bryan Coffman of Sente Corp., which specializes in helping businesses develop new solutions through the creative process. "Entrepreneurs usually first go through a stage of gathering all the information they can. But after awhile, all that information adds complexity that sometimes can exceed the capability of the conscious mind to wrestle with it. That's when it can help to turn to a subconscious process such as incubation, or what Ed called pondering."

Incubation — or pondering — is one of the most effective ways to break through to the "big idea" that keeps businesses operating successfully, explains Coffman.

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Articles in our Entrepreneur’s Resource Center appeared in print and online newsletters published previously by the foundation. More than 1,000 articles can be found in the categories below, addressing timeless challenges faced by entrepreneurs of all types.