An Idea, a Catalyst and an Agitator walk into a bar….

Sally Dominguez Blog's picture
Sally Dominguez

The Science of Drink N Think and the Benefits of Sharing Ideas

Judging inventions on TV I received almost daily emails from people with ideas.

Generally it went along the lines of “I’ve got a great idea and I need you to help me get it going…but don’t steal my idea!” If the sender was business-savvy, a Non Disclosure document was attached. Thing is, everyone has loads of great ideas and there is nothing sadder than a person who has cotton-wrapped and cultivated one idea in solitude only to find that while they were building walls around their concept, someone else was actually realizing it to the world.

My fellow New Inventors judge Mark Pesce still gets his fair share of “idea” emails. Both of us, as prolific innovators, know that the core of great creative work is idea sharing. That means the equal and open prodding and poking of various concepts by an animated group with no ulterior motives. As Mark says, “I’ve shared almost all of my work over the last twenty five years and it’s made me well-known and comfortably employed!”

So what’s the best way to go about breaking down the barriers and cross-pollinating so that everybody benefits from free idea flow? One of the time-honored methods amongst engineers, architects and advertising creatives is the Drink n Think, also known as Beerstorming. This creatively productive union of beverages and brainstorming is rooted in science: two alcoholic beverages have been shown to relax our working memory just enough to allow ideas to flow up to six times more freely (when you want to focus working memory and hone those ideas use caffeine). Of course you don’t need alcohol to innovate: what you do need for a successful all-in ideas mixer is an open mindset, a smallish space and a couple of fast-paced exercises to ensure everybody gets to participate.

The experience of prolific ideation and ideas sharing is exhilarating! For as French Renaissance philosopher Michel Eyquem de Montaigne noted, “It is good to rub and polish our brain against that of others”.

Sally Dominguez and Mark Pesce are experts in Adventurous Thinking for Design and Business. They are presenting the Innovation Catalyser on Thursday 1 June as part of Vivid Ideas.