Ideas Favor the Connected Mind

It’s interesting to think about where ideas come from. In his TED talk, Steven Johnson claims that ideas come from the Coffee House in that boasts an environment paired with stimulation. He goes on to say that a Coffee House in particular is a  “space where ideas can have sex”, and that an idea occurs when a new pattern of neurons in your brain is now firing in sync. This contradicts the assumption of an idea as a singular thing, but rather as a new way to compile existing parts. Steven ends his talk with the statement “Chance favors the connected mind.”

This got me thinking about particular game design ideas that pop into my brain. I find that they usually germinate when in the presence of other stimulus, usually a listening to podcast or chatting with a friend. The interesting part about the ideas that come up is that they are usually not very related to the conversation or content within the podcast. There is simply some new way of arranging existing information, or potentially adding a new perspective. It’s interesting that simply listening to a Podcast can serve as a Coffee House in that I am taking in new stimulus, and I am usually in a space where my brain has freedom to roam a little bit (driving, exercising, etc).


Is listening actually a form of connecting? I would argue that it can be. Back to the podcasts, I have reached out in person and on multiple occasions to podcast hosts I listen to. I felt connected and comfortable enough to do this. When reaching out, I was able to genuinely say hello as a fan and ask them about something meaningful to them.  This has resulted in sharing a genuine personal connection and friendship even if only via social media, something that is strikingly hard to find these days. I would say listening is and definitely leads to a form of connecting.

So listening paired with your other life experiences, can lead to new ideas. The next time on you’re on the road, visit your proverbial coffee house via an interesting podcast and pair that with a cup of joe to get the ideas flowing. Use listening as a way to combat designers block and to stem innovation on theme, mechanic, and overall experience.

What I am listening to:

Of course, we at Adam’s Apple Games value listening so much that we also want to be part of creating content that will help you feel connected.  We help host the recently created Gamers With Wives podcast where we talk about games, gaming, and sometimes some small business and game design things.

What are you listening to?

If you have any other killer game design podcast recommendations, leave a comment with them below.

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