Where ideas come from and how you can have unlimited access to yours

Sounds crazy doesn’t it?
It’s tempting to believe that it’s something else—someone else—who comes up with all the ideas and executes them.
Let’s say it’s true.

I believe I have a different side to me when I’m working and coming up with new ideas. I like to call it my professional side.

Other times, I’m just my regular self. Regular Anna Peng.

If I want to tap into new ideas, I have to go into my professional self and make new ideas happen.
If my professional self isn’t used to generating thoughts and ideas, then I’ll have a harder time doing it.

It’s a practice.

Ideas are free and unlimited, but you’ll have to put your professional self to work if you want more of them.

Silly Things Creatives Say PT. 2

“It has to be original”

We’ve all said this at one point or another. Instead, let’s be real. What’s funny is most people who say this end up making work that looks like what other people had already done.

Chasing for originality is a lost cause. This phrase is used when we haven’t yet embraced that most things are just remixes and copies of each other.

Instead of, “I can’t do this project until I come up with an original idea” we can try “How can we have this project carry a voice of its own? Who are we making it for, and why will it be helpful for them?”

Why You Don’t Need an Original Idea

There are a trillion restaurants who do burgers in Toronto, but you probably only know a dozen of them. And of that dozen, you’ve only tried a handful of them. And of that handful, even fewer you would return to.

None of these restaurants were the first ever to make a burger. It’s also likely that the reason why you went there wasn’t because they were the first (far from it), but instead they were being talked about by your friends or colleagues.

Having something worth talking about is more doable than finding an “original idea” to market.

Being hung up about not not being first is a mistake.

Supply and Demand of Ideas

In my first years at OCAD, I was very protective of my ideas. I didn’t want to have to fear that anybody else would steal them from me, so I kept them quiet and to myself.

A handful of critique sessions later taught me that keeping ideas to oneself is a selfish move.


Because sharing your ideas with other people made them better most of the time.

And if it was a simply bad idea, that would get exposed and you wouldn’t have to keep your bad idea needlessly precious.

There’s a huge supply of ideas out there. 

That means a single idea isn’t worth very much.

What’s more valuable is the sharing, and the growth, and the discussion, and the action around an idea.

Make it happen.

Why It’s OK To Share Ideas

I once had an idea for an online educational program that didn’t require massive amounts of money, nor a history of good grades, or even a concrete deadline to complete by.

Months later, Google came out with its certificate programs.

Free, practical, and accessible.

Does this mean that Google stole my idea?

Am I pissed that they didn’t give me credit?

The reality is that unexectuted ideas are a free for all.

And demanding ownership or credit of an idea you didn’t take action on is kind of a dead end.

What To Do With Trashy Ideas

Remember the idea that ran through your mind the other day? Remember how you trashed it the moment you gave it more thought because you thought nobody else would care?

Maybe the only reason it was trashy was because you didn’t think it was good enough.

Not the others, but you.

When we reject too often or too quickly, we never give anything a chance to see daylight.

Your trashy ideas and thoughts might just be the thing someone else needs (but they’ll never get to know it because it was thrown away a hair too early).

The more chances we give, the more likely we’ll get to make the changes we seek to make.

What To Do With Your Best Ideas

Let go of your best ideas, because they’re just that—ideas. Ideas are free, they weigh nothing, don’t cost much to produce, and usually don’t hold value until they’re realized.

It also comes down to how selfish you want to be with your ideas. Keeping them all to yourself as opposed to giving them all away. Who does the idea serve best? Where should it be living, if not in your notebook or your laptop?

Let go of your best ideas by doing something them.

And on that note my thesis project, Kinspeople, has been picked up by Jaywhy Kim who is a close colleague of mine. I think the idea of it would provide a lot more value if it were being built (even if for the most part not by me), rather than tucked away in a hard drive. Good news: Kinspeople is currently looking to take on new design clients, so please send Jaywhy and the Kinspeople team a message if you’re in need of design services for your business. 

I’m excited and looking forward to seeing what they’ll be up to. If you want to check them out, their website is currently underway and you can find them @kinspeople on Instagram, LinkedIn, or www.kinspeople.com