Tim Harford's TED Talk entitled, “A powerful way to unleash your natural creativity,” resonated with me because he takes on this “problem” of multitasking and suggests that it’s not always a bad thing, but actually can serve as an accelerator for creativity. As it happens, Ideasicle is designed to take full advantage of this effect, though we didn’t know it when we pioneered this model.

Here’s the TED Talk. I encourage you to watch because it’s inspiring, but then I’ll share how Harfard’s theory applies to Ideasicle Experts working together virtually.


Ideasicle happens in the in-between times of the day.

John Lennon once sang in his song Beautiful Boy, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” That’s true for life, but it’s also true for ideas. Ideas don’t necessarily occur when you happen to have time to think about the assignment. Ideas can’t be forced. Ideas will happen when they damn well please.

And that’s usually while you’re busy making other plans. Am I right? You’re at the grocery store and see something on the shelf and BOOM, an idea. You’re on the train listening to a podcast and BOOM, an idea. You’re watching your kid’s soccer game and BOOM, an idea.

Once your brain is influenced by an inspirational brief, ideas happen out there. And this “slow-motion multitasking” Harford talks about helps explain why ideas happen “out there.”

Because Ideasicle is a virtual experience, the Experts can take in the briefing on their time (briefing doc and short video) and then live life until inspiration strikes. Whatever other tasks life presents the Experts are welcome because within each one is a potential idea-collision with the brief. All we need to do is equip the Experts with technology that allows them to post that idea right then and there (even if that means while standing in aisle 5).

As one Expert put it, “With Ideasicle, ideas happen in the in-between times of the day.” Exactly.

Granted, this is not the longer term “slow-motion multitasking” Harford is mostly talking about in his talk, where Einstein and Darwin and others went from topic to topic over many years. But the principle is exactly the same only on a compressed, client-friendly schedule.

Even more compressed, multiple projects means even more multitasking.

There are times when we’ve got several projects going at a time when an Expert or two might be multitasking even within the confines of our virtual idea machine. They think about a tequila brand idea for a while and then bounce to a retail promotion for another brand. Idea collisions abound (“Tequila giveaways at Staples!”—kidding).

But even if it’s not concurrent projects, our timelines are short—each round is only one week. So an Expert could be working on one thing one week and something else the next, and something else the next. That’s a lot of “tasking” and in relatively slow-mo.

It’s funny. The more we learn about the psychology of creativity, the more the Ideasicle model seems perfectly suited. Yeah, it’s based on technology, but human beings will always be the software.



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