Bing! Eureka! That’s it! Why didn’t I think of it before?
If you’re in a rut, scratching your head or just plain stumped, Idea Stimulator by Through Design Pty Ltd has your back and your brain. We have a habit of forgetting the basic techniques to overcome mental obstacles – this app compiles in a concise format those tools we all learned, or ought to have learned, throughout our schooling, and once again, have let slip from our minds.
The more than 100 suggestions listed by Idea Stimulator seem elementary at first. However, their simplicity allows the user to build from the ground up, inspiring you to move from the general to complex. The interface is equally unembellished, lacking any of those pesky pop-up tips and prompts pervasive in myriad apps. The yellow, blue and black color scheme is reminiscent of the old Ma Bell phone books (remember those?). After all, Idea Stimulator is a directory for your brain.
The techniques, presented in a scrolling bar, range from the comical (“10 uses for a spoon”) to the mundane (“Take an afternoon nap”). The Trigger button at the bottom of the screen adds further creativity with the use of chance. Pressing it, the app selects an exercise at random. “Seek criticism”? No problem, let me talk to my 1.5 year old. That dear chatterbox has opinions on everything. “Music”? Sure, I’d love to rock out right now. Other tips include bibliomancy (“Pick a word – any word”) and associations (“Three photos”). Two of my favorites are “20 questions” and “Ask ‘Why?'” Curiosity is the champion problem-solving aid.
The items on the main page are bolstered by the supplementary articles in Idea Stimulator, which provide depth to the app. Some, like “Top 6 Creative Kick Starters,” offer bold ideas (“Throw away your best idea”). “Poetic Structure” impresses upon the user the benefits of limitations, a counterpoint to the “Take it to extremes” suggestion. Other articles encourage whimsy (“The ‘idea-a-day’ challenge”). It’s obvious Idea Stimulator knows epiphanies come footloose or restrained.
As a matter of fact, I’ve used the exercises proffered by Idea Stimulator during my search for a full-time job (“Shower,” “Dress differently”) and for my other writing projects (“Walk away,” “Do something else”). “Walk away” is one of the most important suggestions. It’s difficult to tear yourself from a conundrum, but sometimes you got to clear your head, man. Why not cook your favorite meal? How about going for a bike ride through the neighborhood? Why not clear your mind, meditate?
On that note: I’m going to walk away now for some brainstorming. Idea Stimulator has my synapses firing.
Idea Stimulator requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later and is compatible with both iPhone and iPod Touch.