Lucas Brenner » Articles » Do Ideas Need Chaos or Order?

We need more and more ideas because knowledge work is becoming increasingly important these days. In both professional and private contexts, we consume more information than ever before in history. Nevertheless, it seems difficult for us to come up with new ideas.

Do ideas need chaos in order to emerge? This is a question that everyone probably has to answer for themselves. Nevertheless, I would like to present my point of view in this article, so that you can enrich your own perspective.

Ideas Are Created through Connections

Ideas combine two or more known pieces of information and thereby create something new. If you disregard strokes of genius and coincidences, this is how all ideas are created. Something new is created from the unusual combination of what is known.

In order to be able to link information, you have to put it in order. This means that you must structure your own knowledge. This process needs a certain amount of order to work.

I organize my notes in “Obsidian.” In my article “How I Organize My Notes,” I wrote more about my notetaking workflow.

Only when you know where and how to find information can you link them together. So, where you store your literature notes, how they are structured, and how you can link them to your notes on videos or web pages is important.

Order Reduces Stress

When the information you collect is structured, you also put your own thoughts in order. This reduces stress and uncertainty, so that you can think better.

Order also contributes to feeling better mentally. People can only be creative if they give their thoughts free rein. However, this only succeeds when you are in a positive state of mind and feel good.

In addition, order transfers to other areas of life, so you can generally control and organize your life better.

With a calm, positive mind, you can venture into new territory mentally without being held back by worry or clutter.

Allow Chaos Purposefully

Allowing chaos within order is not a contradiction, but the conclusion of the view I presented in this article.

Within the supporting framework of order, allow chaos locally so that new ideas can form. This means defining the boundaries of chaos within which it can unfold.

The difference to pure chaos is that it cannot spread endlessly and that you structure your ideas and thoughts again after a chaotic brainstorming session. Based on these ideas, you can then dive back into purposeful chaos.

Through the pillars of order, you can direct the chaotic brainstorming specifically to problem areas without losing sight of the big picture. Like the brain of a newborn, you first form many connections, no matter how crazy they may seem. Then you break down useless connections and structure the ideas that emerged. You can repeat this process as often as you like.

In summary, for ideas to emerge, you need a structured, orderly framework that ensures you don't lose sight of your goals and intentions. You also prepare your knowledge for brainstorming and connecting.

Within this framework, you allow focused chaos so that unconventional connections can form. This leads to numerous ideas that vary in quality. Nonetheless, you should capture all of them. I describe how that works in detail in this article.

In the final phase, you return to order and evaluate the connections that have emerged.

So, ideas are created both in chaos and in order. Good ideas can only be created by combining these opposites.