At the Alberta College of Art and Design I was lucky enough to take a course in sculpture taught by Dave Casey. Dave was the first person to ever teach me about creativity and what he taught me changed my attitude forever. I had grown up with the idea that creativity was an inborn talent that you either had or didn't have but Dave's attitude was that creativity is a skill that can be taught, learned, practiced, and developed. Much of what Dave taught about creativity came from Roger von Oech's book A Whack on the Side of the Head which described 10 mental locks that often prevent people from being creative. Another core idea of Dave's was that doing is better than thinking. He often told a story about two ceramics classes; one where students were taught endless theory, and another where students were just told to work with the clay non-stop. Those who worked the clay made better pots.
It was with the hopes of making better pots that I decided to keep a journal of every silly idea that popped into my head. My idea journal has notes, sketches, and clippings for art projects, mobile apps, short stories, life goals, and so on. The goal of the book isn't to fill the book with good ideas but just to fill it with ideas. If I have an idea I don't stop to wonder if it is a good idea or a bad one, I just grab a pen and jot it down. Since ideas can strike at any time I tend to keep the book on my person as much as possible, but even if I don't have it handy I'll go and find some other scrap of paper and just tape the note into my journal once I get home. The book itself is in rough shape and now needs a thick rubber band to hold it together, but over the past couple of years I have grown quite fond of the habit. Keeping an idea journal has increased the volume of ideas that I have, but more importantly it has helped me to identify recurring themes and changes in the way I think.
When I graduated from Guru Digital Arts College I was very much interested in art, illustration, design, and music. Over the next year you can see through my journal entries how my ideas started shifting toward more digital ambitions. First it was apps and websites, but eventually I started thinking about improving business processes and wanting to develop APIs. It was seeing how my ideas changed that convinced me to take my education a step further by enrolling at NAIT. I may not be an authority like Roger von Oech, and I'm not as experienced a teacher as Dave Casey, but if there is one thing I wish I could teach everybody, it would be to keep an idea journal and use it daily.