Let’s rename bathroom to idearoom.
You see, my latest two ideas came when I’m in the bathroom. The first one came to me when I’m not sure if I should enter a certain competition or not, since I don’t really have any idea of what should I make.Several hours before the registration deadline, I randomly decided to take a pee, and that’s when an idea hit me: controlling a kite using touch interface! So I decided to use it as my entry for the competition.
To be honest though, that idea still needs a lot of tweak, even now I’m not sure the gameplay is really fun XD
The second idea came to me just this morning. For a long time I haven’t got the slightest idea about how to adapt one of my games (Komodo Park) to touch interface, but just in a couple of minutes under the shower, I got an idea for a suitable gameplay. But seriously, it’s so random! I didn’t think about anything related to games before I took the shower, yet I suddenly stumbled into that idea.
So if bathroom is so effective in drawing out good ideas, should we start doing brainstorming in the bathroom? No, I don’t think so. Once we start having brainstorming sessions in the bathroom, it would become just like any other meeting rooms. I think it’s more about the activity rather than the purpose of the room. So thinking while taking a bath in the bathroom or in the meeting room have no difference whatsoever.
So, why? Why does the bathroom let us have good ideas? The first thing that I can think of is the state of our mind inside the bathroom. We’re relaxed when we go into the bathroom (so a public, crowded toilet won’t do). We all know that being relaxed helps up think clearly, that’s why it’s easier to have ideas under that condition.
The other thing would be freshness. Usually going into the bathroom lets us take a break and stop thinking about our current predicament. It’s like most of our problems are being stored outside and our minds are getting reset. With our mind reset, it’s easier to look at problems from different perspectives, resulting in brand new way of thinking that leads to a new solution.
One last factor that comes to my mind is that we don’t truly think inside the bathroom. It may sounds contradictory to my original argument, but it is true. We don’t really think when we’re in the bathroom, rather, we just let our minds wander off on their own. And much like the freshness point I mentioned before, letting our minds wander also means letting them tackle problems from different directions, leading to some new ideas that we never think of before.
I think its easy for our minds to wander off in the bathroom because most of the stuff we do there is already automated, leaving our minds idle. The privacy of bathrooms also helps, since now we don’t have anything to pay attention to.
So it all came down to being relaxed, being fresh, and having nothing immediate to think about. Could we recreate them outside the bathroom? It’s hard, but I think walking around with no destination is a close one, though it’s kinda dangerous if you don’t pay attention to your surrounding when you’re walking.
Ironically, most meeting rooms don’t encourage those three components XD