- The most common source of ideas is reading.
- Everyday chatting with friends and colleagues, in person or in online forums, is a powerful source of scratching.
- Tap the ideas of your mentors, and use them as a source for your ideas. The danger, of course, is that you could find yourself copying your mentors' ideas. It takes discipline to keep your ideas fresh and original.
- Find ideas in nature. Ideas are all around us.
Tharp offers some practical rules for scratching -
- Get in shape and stay in shape. To scratch for creative ideas, you have to think creatively on a regular basis. Stay in creative shape, and you'll be able to come up with new ideas more readily.
- Look for ideas in the best places possible. Listen to great music. Enjoy great art. Read the best books. Don't waste your time with second-tier raw material. Become inspired by the best ideas.
- Scratch in new places. Don't waste time looking for ideas in the same tired, old places. Looking in the archives of the huge download sites isn't going to help you find the next innovative software application.
- Scratch with a passion. Stay emotional about your work. Don't believe that the search for creative ideas is a dull and boring left-brain search.