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The best creativity enhancer ever: Catch

You’re in a crowded bus and an idea pops into your mind. You now have three choices:

  • Keep thinking about it and forget everything else, blocking any subsequent ideas, or
  • Cheat yourself that you’ll remember it later on (you won’t), or
  • Write it down and keep going.

Most and best ideas usually pop up at the weirdest places and situations. Creative professionals work 24/7 in their subconscious. Leonardo da Vinci left some 13000 pages of notes and drawings that were made and maintained daily throughout Leonardo’s life and travels, as he made continual observations of the world around him.

We can learn something from Leonardo. A new, fresh idea is always fragile. In order to not waste your subconscious fruits, you have to be prepared to write ideas down anywhere, anytime. An obvious choice is a notebook, and a Moleskine is supposedly a good one. I tried such for a while, and it would be okay if it didn’t need that DAMN PEN. Where’s that pen again? There’s no pen included in a Moleskine, nor a pen holder. There are various pen holder hacks around the web, like this, this and this. Not exactly beautiful.

So the problem with a notebook and pen is that you should carry them with you always, everywhere. And if it’s a tad awkward, you won’t. And then you’ll get that million-dollar idea and there you are, with no tools to write that idea down.

But what do people nowadays carry with themselves always, everywhere? Mobile phones! I recently purchased a “smartphone”, Samsung Galaxy S. It’s a fine phone, and altough I’ve not found those fancy apps nearly as useful as I thought they would be, there’s one app above others: Catch (formerly known as Snaptic or 3banana).

Catch for Android

Catch is a simple note taking application. It has some fancy extra features such as using #tags like #this, launching camera and attaching images to notes, geotagging, and a barcode scanner (!?), but its main point is writing down simple textual notes. Its killer advantage over other note taking apps is that it syncs with the website where you can browse and organize your notes using your comfy computer.

After all, the ergonomy of a phone sucks. It’s fine for jotting down random ideas when there’s nothing else available, but getting those notes sync’d automatically to a computer (and back) makes a huge difference. You get the best of both worlds: ubiquitous access with a phone and good working ergonomics with a computer, so in turn you’ll be writing more notes.

Getting ideas out of your brain onto “paper” somehow makes room for new ideas to pop up, and the sheer volume of new ideas increases the likelihood of getting good ideas. Just look at Leonardo’s notes; most of them are just random thoughts or plain nonsense, nothing special. For example, note #924:

Place at the beginning what a river can effect.

Is that something ingenious or what? Indeed, when talking about idea generation, quantity eventually transforms into quality.

The mobile app is available for Android, iPhone and iPad. The web app can be used from any computer with a web browser. Cost: zero. Works like a charm. What’s not to like?

Last modified: 2010-10-10 19:02 +0300

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