For several years, my friend and I were using an excel spreadsheet
filled with columns of random words and concepts. You would read
across the row and try to create an idea by jamming together words
that don't really belong together. This was a great way to
make wild ideas that I never would have come up with otherwise, so
I decided to make a simple web app that displayed each row of the
spreadsheet on the screen with buttons to individually randomize
each word. I converted each column into an array of strings, and
used a simple
randomly select a word from the array and display it to the
This was my first real "web app", and I learned a lot about JS, CSS, and the DOM. I was super proud of my creation at the time, even though it took longer than I'd like to admit lol. It was the seed for the idea that would become ideaisland several months later. In hindsight, before turning it into a larger application, I should have shared this tool with others to see if they found value in it, in which I would have discovered that making ideas without a defined problem was a lousy way to innovate. You live and you learn though right? 🤷♂️
- I enjoy making ideas with the combinatorial thinking technique.
- P5.js makes for a decent JS "framework" for creating simple websites, although I'd never use it again.
- I learned a lot about randomizing arrays of values.
- An excel sheet can be upgraded into a simple web app to improve the UX in certain situations.
- Although its fun making ideas with this platform, the best way to make innovations that are useful is to find actual problems in the world, then find solutions to them. Making random solutions without first having a real problem is a recipe for disaster.