“Where do you all the inspiration from”, asked Artem on the comment form.

“My inspiration comes from many places. TV, social media, discussions with the family”, I replied. Inspiration is all around us so it is really just a case of watching the world and seeing what sparks your interest. I try to capture inspiration in the form of a question.

For example, the idea for the Topsy Turvy Clock came from watching a children’s television show with my daughter. The thought “Could that really be made?” came to my head.

Or inspiration may come from a problem you see such as “why does my pasta pan always boil over whilst I’m in the middle of something?”

And indeed, I have these kinds of thoughts all of the time. Many of them just float on by. I try to capture some of the good questions in a notebook or electronic note to myself so even if they don’t turn into anything just this moment, they may provide further inspiration down the line.

But inspiration is just the first step on the process to having a project. Those thoughts need to be expanded on. “Could that be made?” turns to “How can I make that?”, “what materials and techniques are needed?”. These thoughts turn to ideas that can be actioned.

But not every idea is worthy of turning into a project, so the best ideas are prioritised and again expanded upon. Perhaps I’d need to make a prototype and prove out a technique, perhaps I need to sell the idea to a sponsor so they can provide parts to move this forward? That sponsor or stakeholder may put restrictions on the project or might add to it with fresh thoughts. Factors such as time and cost can also be added in.

And so the process of developing an idea comes from this process of repeatedly expanding and filtering until the idea is refined.

And the final step is to turn those ideas into projects. For this a plan for completion is necessary. For simple projects, this may just be a checklist. More complex projects require durations and dependencies. Pre-requisites such as ordering components or learning skills can also be added.

What about you? What are your sources of inspiration and how you turn them into something?

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