There is a lot to be said for dreaming up crazy ideas, and doing so is more than just a way to exercise your creativity (although it's very good for that purpose too). Sometimes a crazy idea is not as crazy as it first appears, and sometimes it is, but becomes something more useful with a bit of work. The story below provides a good example, and is followed by some tips on how to get more creative in your thinking and how to generate one crazy concept after another.

Here is a crazy idea: fight a war with guitars and volleyballs instead of guns. In June 2008, XL Magazine (Extraordinary Lives) reported on a true story about this tactic. A coalition army lead by the New Zealander Defense Force (NZDF) was formed a few years ago to try to resolve a civil war on Bougainville Island that had already cost thousands of people their lives over the years. Brigadier Roger Mortlock thought that since traditional approaches had failed, something new should be tried.

Although the press made fun of him and his plan, his coalition forces flew into rebel-controlled territory unarmed. The rebel surrounded them and searched the plane. They found it was full of guitars, volleyballs, medical equipment and other useful supplies, but no weapons. It also carried vehicles which were old and needed to be push-started, which the rebels then helped the NZDF soldiers do. News of their peaceful mission spread through the island quickly. The mission was considered a success, the rebels and Bougainvillle government forces agreed to work towards a peace which so far has prevailed.

The lesson, in part: crazy ideas can sometimes solve serious problems. Now let’s look at how to have such creative concepts and make them into something useful.

To start with, all you have to do is allow whatever comes to mind to be considered for a moment rather than pushed away. You will certainly discard most of your crazy ideas in the end, but the rare useful one will not be discovered if it is thrown away before you even allow it to develop for a few seconds. So let your mind wander.

With some ideas, you will have to work a bit to develop them. For example, you might have the crazy thought that you can make money giving away food in your restaurant. At first, perhaps nothing comes to mind. But you ask questions, such as, “how would I make the money if they are eating for free?” They would have to spend money on something else. At that point you recall a seminar you went to that was free and provided lunch. The promoters wanted you to pay $1,000 for a bigger seminar on how to get rich in property tax liens.

That leads you to the idea that you might have “Free Saturday Lunches” and invite various organizations to pitch their products to the assembled diners. The food is free is you listen to the sales pitch. As owner of the restaurant and provider of the meal, you would get a cut of each sale or perhaps a flat fee that covers the meals and gives you a profit.

There are many specific techniques for generating creative and crazy ideas. They become even more powerful when they are made into a habitual part of your thinking. It is worth learning a few of these specialized methods. But just stifling the inner critic and working with all those crazy notions that pop up is a good start.

Author's Bio: 

Copyright Steve Gillman. For inventions, new product ideas, business ideas, story ideas, political and economic theories, deep thoughts, and a free course on Creating New Ideas, visit: