The Idea Machine

Costa Michailidis -

Think of a challenge that's important for you to solve... What if you suddenly had lots of ideas on how to solve it? Let's explore the power of imagination together.

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, reforming life science education, 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 at 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, ought to 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 online course for innovation fundamentals.

To check out the course when it goes live, visit

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 time pressure, lots of fun! The crowd in Westchester, New York was particularly lively that night.


Alternativley, there is as a detailed article at

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! 💡

As a member of the Idea Machine you have two jobs:

  1. Practice generating lots of ideas when you encounter a challenge in your life or offer ideas to friends.
  2. Use the short link ( to send people here for basic innovation training when relevant.

By the way, the more you practice generating lots of ideas, the better you'll get at it!

Also, 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.

The idea machine is not an actual membership. There are no members only benefits or parties. There are no membership dues, annual meetings, forms, or committees. You are not subscribed to anything. You're the same person you were before : ) just as awesome. Now, go forth and generate lots of ideas!

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 😊

Experiencing the Power of Imagination

Coming up with lots of ideas is a skill, but it has its basis in human imagination, which means it's yours. It's natural. It's a talent we all have and can shape and cultivate. The first time you sit down and generate 100 ideas for a challenge you care about, you'll experience the power of your imagination.

And, when you do that, we want to hear all about it, so keep in touch!


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.)