Career Brainstorming: Quantity Over Quality

I love career brainstorming.  I love how people dream up new ideas for jobs and careers, how they see paths they didn't see before, how they see old ideas in new ways.  When I speak on careers or run brainstorming events, seeing what people dream up is amazing and enthralling.

You probably know what it's like to brainstorm for yourself as well – the research, the dreaming up new businesses and new places to work, coming up with new things to do.  However you're also likely to restrain yourself a bit, hold back, look for quality ideas so as not to waste your time.


When you're going over the top to think up new ideas for where to work, new career angles, new goals the last thing you want to start doing is figuring out the best ideas.  That's not the purpose of brainstorming – the purpose is to come up with as many ideas as possible.

Yes, in a way, I'm suggesting quality over quantity.  Because the two go hand-in-hand.

When you're dreaming up that next dream job, designing that next graphic design company, and getting animated over animation do not hold yourself back or restrict yourself.  If you and your friends are discussing your new company, or you and your spouse are discussing job opportunities, just keep going and come up with as many new ideas as possible.

At some point you will have two things:

  1. A huge list of ideas.
  2. A sense that at this point you can't brainstorm any more because you've really exhausted yourself.

Once you have that huge list of career ideas, you have a Quantity of concepts, directions, and so on that you can follow. 

Now the Quality comes in.  Once you've exhausted yourself brainstorming, then you can sort through the ideas, then you can figure out what works and what doesn't.  Then you can find what is truly the "best."

Restraining yourself early just restrains your creativity.  You get bogged down in diving deep into an idea or two as opposed to coming up with as many as possible.  You need that huge, wide sweep of brainstorming gone wild to expose yourself to as many ideas as possible for your job, career, or business.  Only then, with that many choices and that broad perspective (and the assurance you did all you can) can you figure out which are the best ideas for you.

It's not Quantity over Quality.  It's Quantity so you can find Quality.

– Steven Savage