The Idea Machine Experiment

Costa Michailidis -

What if lots of ideas for how to solve a problem you care about are just a hashtag away?

Hanging Lightbulbs photo by Patrick Tomasso

Photo By Patrick Tomasso

Okay, I don't usually introduce myself in these articles, but I want you to get my credentials quickly, and I want to state my purpose here up front.

My name is Costa Michailidis. I'm cofounder here at Innovation Bound and a project leader at our sister company Knowinnovation. I have spent the last ten years leading innovation projects at large enterprises, with pioneering nonprofits, and with scientists at NASA, the National Science Foundation and so on. These projects facilitate the development of research ideas for efforts like the search for life beyond Earth, building synthetic cells, crafting circular economies, using super computers to enhance cancer therapies, and so on. On the business side, we help nonprofits and large companies generate new product ideas and build innovation training programs. I am not alone 💛 You can learn more about my team here: They are awesome!

My purpose is to take what we've learned about creativity and innovation working on some of the most complex challenges our world faces with some of the brightest minds, and to share that with you.

Creativity is not just for people in shiny laboratories and fancy office buildings with big budgets. It's for all of us, it's in all of us.

The skills to be a great innovator, including basic creative thinking, should be accessible to people around the world. So, I'm going to teach one skill at a time (starting with the basics) directly on social media and then assemble the best of it into an Innovation 101 online course.

Alright, let's go!

Lesson 1: Come Up With LOTS of Ideas!

In short, one of the best ways to get great ideas, is to come up with LOTS of ideas.

Here is a 5 minute video on how to come up with lots of ideas. It's from an event series called DisruptHR that features speakers who are forced to give their talks in 5 minutes with auto-advancing slides. Lots of fun! The crowd in Westchester, New York was particularly lively that night...


Alternativley, here it is as an detailed article:

Okay, so that's the how to! Let's summarize the key points:

  1. Make sure you own the problem, it requires imagination, and phrase it as a question.
  2. Generate lots of ideas without judging which ideas might be good or bad.
  3. Keep generating ideas past the point where you think you've exhausted your creativity.

After that, the innovation process continues of course, but we'll get to all that in future lessons. Besides, coming up with lots of ideas is a valuable skill unto itself.

Welcome To The Idea Machine

Okay, you are ready to go!

The more you practice generating lots of ideas, the better you'll get at it. Remember to enjoy the process.

I will personally generate ideas with you, if you simply use the hashtag #InnovationBound and tag/mention me @IdeasAndAction on Twitter or Instgram, or @Costa Michailidis on LinkedIn.

Remember To Laugh At The Trolls

Now, generating lots of ideas openly and optimistically without judgement will inevitably attract trolls and haters. All you need do is reply to them with "Hahaa ha..." and swiftly move on with your life 😊


The term third third was originally coined by Tim Hurson who probably adapted it from someone else.

I learned the predictable superhero powers activity from David Lomas who likely learned it from Tim... haa!

(It's honestly a bit of a challenge to cite things in the creativity community. There's so much simulatenous invention and adaptation. Suffice to say, we stand on each others' shoulders in some kind of optically illusive Catalan people pyramid.)