How To Have Kick-Ass Ideas, by Chris Barez-Brown, presents over '50 ideas and exercises to jump-start inventiveness and help you create an extraordinary life'.
Chris Barez-Brown (pictured below) is the head of training at ?WhatIf!, which claims to be the world's largest independent innovation company. His style of writing, and the way How To Have Kick-Ass Ideas is laid out and presented, is playful and fun -- making this a very accessible, easy-to-read creativity book.
How To Have Kick-Ass Ideas opens with this quote from Emile Chartier: "Nothing is more dangerous than an idea when it is the only one you have." The book then evolves around a central theme conveyed as: Embracing Freshness Keeps You Shiny and New.
How To Have Kick-Ass Ideas is organised into 7 main sections:
1. Intro -- where Chris Barez-Brown gives his background and how he came to develop his own appreciation for creativity and ideas to generate innovations, ultimately leading him to join ?WhatIf!.
2. Freedom -- in this section, Barez-Brown explores opportunity -- opportunities that come to us and have to be recognised, and those opportunities that we create ourselves. In the latter, he says that you are a "creating machine" and reveals that the basis of creativity is simple -- which he lays out in this map: INSIGHT >> IDEAS >> IMPACT >> INSPIRING OPPORTUNITIES.
3. The Process -- here Barez-Brown develops the map, looking at INSIGHT as becoming clear about what your opportunities may be; IDEAS having ideas about how to make these opportunities work for you; IMPACT doing something with them. He also writes about Brain Basics and emotion state changes and how they affect the way you think.
4. Mojo-Making -- now this is right up the Wily Walnut alley (if you'll pardon the expression). Here Chris Barez-Brown explains that the process is useless unless you infuse it with the X Factor, the magic that is YOU! You have to get into your own highest energy states so thath you can give life to your creations. He gives you some tips and techniques to raise your energy and let your charisma shine through your work.
5. Insight -- the Insight section focuses on how you need to really get to the core of your challenges and aims and opportunities to really understand what you are doing and what potential it has. The techniques in this section help you get to your core values, goals, aims and really understand what you have to do.
6. Ideas -- in this section of How To Have Kick-Ass Ideas, Barez-Brown gives you strategies and techniques for generating creative or innovative ideas and adding your mojo to them. I love the story on page 176 about how a strip club in Idaho overcame a ban on total nudity (there was zero tolerance for nudity unless it was done for "serious artistic merit").
7. Impact -- finally Chris Barez-Brown investigates how you can take your new ideas and have a positive impact upon your creative opportunity or challenge. He says there are 2 stages to this. In the first stage you decide which of the ideas you have generated has the highest "horn" factor -- horn being excitement, passion and potential to create magic. I love that expression! The second stage is making it happen.
Some people may find the style of How To Have Kick-Ass Ideas annoying. The colored pages, big cartoons, and quotes taking up an entire page is starting to get a bit overused with creativity type books where it can just end up being busy and distracting -- like it messes with your head. But fair-dues, it generally keeps the book engaging and is better than non-stop text, or a boring monologue style.
I recommend How To Have Kick-Ass Ideas as an addition to your creativity library. It has a playful attitude that appeals to me and I think Chris Barez-Brown would be a fun guy to hang out with or brainstorm with. Certainly, he and the company he works for, have managed to parlay their creative abilities into huge success with helping companies develop products and creative solutions to business problems. The fact that these ideas have stood up to rigorous testing in the real world recommends How To Have Kick-Ass Ideas far better than I can ever hope to.