The more ideas, the better

This is a story that designers like to trot out on the issue of quantity over quality:

The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality.

His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the “quantity” group: fifty pound of pots rated an “A”, forty pounds a “B”, and so on. Those being graded on “quality”, however, needed to produce only one pot – albeit a perfect one – to get an “A”.

Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work – and learning from their mistakes – the “quality” group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.

This same principle applies to ideas: The more you have, the better the end result will be. If you've got 30 minutes, it's better to consider 30 ideas than 10, even if you consider those 10 ideas more thoroughly. This is because for every extra idea you have, the chance of finding the "right" idea goes up.

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