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    Friday, September 5, 2008

    How to produce ideas, Step 1: Gather Raw Material

    So you want to have an idea. But how to start?

    Well, if you realize that the core of an idea is content of some kind--concepts, words, messages, impressions, etc.--you're a good bit of the way there. In fact, step one in producing an idea is to gather all the info you can about the project you're doing. That let's you find the content you need to constitute the idea.

    Say you're writing a sales slick for one of Company A's new service offerings. First and foremost, you have to KNOW something about about Company A and it's new service offering. If you don't have the material, it's impossible for you to write a word.

    So gather. Collect any and all info you can about the company. Get their existing promotional material, other sales slicks, brochures, powerpoints, whitepapers, internal memos--everything. Talk with developers, the sales people, the marketing team--anyone who can become a source of information. It's also important to mine matieral from competing companies or companies with similar and/or competing products.

    At this point, don't be concerned about the quality of the matieral you collect. Good, bad, ugly--it doesn't matter. The key thing is you want to have as much raw data as you can about what you're about to do. Remember: quality comes out of quantity.

    Once you've gotten all your info together, it's time to start step two of idea creation. You've collected the matieral. Now digest it.

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