Recently some new ideas have come to me out of activities that I
did not expect would generate any. In this blog entry I'd like
to enumerate sources or catalysts for ideas, for generating
Revisiting things you already know: you will likely see them from a new
point of view. This will usually happen because time has passed. You've
changed, you're not exactly the same person you were when you originally
studied the material. That's what happened to me as I prepared to give
my set of talks at NFJS last weekend.
Attend talks given by others. It's very likely that the same topic
will be presented from a different angle, a different point of
Get together with other developers. A NFJS conference might
do the trick. JavaOne is coming up. Maybe your local JUG meeting.
Even if a topic is not related to the work that you're currently doing,
you might be surprised to find once in a while that a situation is
discussed that is analogous to yours, albeit in a different domain,
a different context.
Provoke thoughts in others. That has the tendency to amplify the thought
process. You might not be prepared for an avalanche of feedback, ideas
triggered by your original provocation. That happened to me recently
after I demo'd some software I was working on to a couple of friends
A few friends recently decided to get together for Friday lunch meetings.
It's been a great opportunity to discuss what each of us are working
on, articles or books we came across that grabbed our attention or interest.
We always have more to talk about than time available, which is a