How to think small for bigger ideas

218 words

In improv comedy, we coach performers to think in specific details.

Specific details make it easier to conceptualize an idea. That makes it easier to build on.

For example: imagine you’re meeting a client for lunch. What’s your opinion of the person who rolls up in a “fancy sports car?”

How does that change if I say they’re driving a “candy-apple-red Maserati?” What if I say it’s also covered in road salt stains?

Details like these make it easier to attach meaning to things. This makes it easier to connect ideas.

But sometimes creative teams get caught chasing a big idea. You want lots of details, lots of specifics, completely planned out, all at once.

This is very hard. It’s also limiting, because you’re trying to create the whole idea yourself. Team members avoid proposing half-formed thoughts because they’re not “ready.”

This thinking paralyzes your team. No one can work together until someone has a grand flash of inspiration. And those are rare.

Instead, start small.

Propose that half-formed thought, cliché, or boring idea. Get a concept out there. Then everyone can build on it by getting more specific.

It’s much easier to connect ideas and build on details when you have a starting place.

Does this method work for you? Leave your opinion on the LinkedIn post.