May 8, 2022

Killer Thinking by Tim Duggan: why you need to schedule your boredom

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About the book

We need better ideas right now. Everywhere you look, there are growing problems that require fresh, creative thinking to help us solve. The good news is that anyone can learn to master the art of creativity to turn good ideas into brilliant ones.

That’s what this book is about: those killer ideas that have a positive impact on many people, with near-infinite winners. The type you hear about and think, ‘Damn, I wish I’d thought of that!’

Tim Duggan, the co-founder of Junkee Media, will show you how to identify and generate your own ideas with big potential, and then how to refine and bring them to life. Learn from the creative minds behind some of the most innovative ideas out there, like Canva, KeepCup, Movember, Linktree, B Corps, Zero Co and more.


About the author

Tim Duggan is an author, advisor and optimist who firmly believes in the power of business to do good.

He has co-founded several digital media ventures, most notably Junkee Media, the leading digital publisher for young Australians, which was acquired by ASX-listed oOh!media

His first book, ‘Cult Status: How To Build A Business People Adore’, was named the Best Entrepreneurship and Small Business Book at the 2021 Australian Business Book Awards. His second book on creativity in the workplace, Killer Thinking, is out now.

He’s also currently the Chairman of the Digital Publishers Alliance, a group representing over 100 titles from the leading independent publishers in the country, as well as working with a range of businesses that he’s passionate about.


Big idea #1 — The best ideas are killer

Tim’s model for what makes an idea better than good and better than great is the acronym KILLER, which stands for;

  • Kind — having a net-good effect on the world
  • Impactful — impacting a large number of people
  • Loved — people love you
  • Lasting — not just a trend, has longevity
  • Easy — people understand what you do
  • Repeatable — create their own momentum

These are about the idea, being killer, but it’s also about the execution; the idea alone is not enough, the execution has to be killer as well. 

Ideas that go beyond good and great and become killer ideas have an infinite amount of upsides, and none or very, few downsides. Tim talks about putting a winners and losers lens over your ideas and using the losers, or the potential losers, as a result of your idea as a trigger to stretch your idea further and design downsides out of it. Nobody should lose as a result of your idea coming to life.

It’s important to note that the creative thinking for a create for a killer idea exists within everyone. You might just not have had a chance to show it just yet, but by using some of the techniques in the book and your own creativity, you can absolutely come up with your own killer ideas yourself.

Big idea #2 — The eight steps to a killer idea

Now that we know a killer idea is and what it looks like, you might want to know how to come up with one or refine your ideas into one yourself. There’s eight steps to this, which Tim has put into a model that looks like a little key hole, and you start the bottom with step number one and work your way up.

  1. Be your problem’s therapist: take in information, absorbing it, and starting to think about what is the real problem, looking at it from different perspectives, and really understand the problem.
  2. Fit your own mask first: look after yourself and your own creativity, by making sure you’ve created the space to be creative by doing your own individual ideation.
  3. Plus each other’s ideas: now you get to bring other people into the process, and make this into a generative and iterative approach where you add to each other’s ideas, rather than shooting them down.
  4. Sit with it: let the ideas breathe, give them a bit of space to let them come to life and ferment in the way that they need to.
  5. Apply the right filter: come up with the design principles or the elements that you need to make sure your idea is feasible, and making sure it meets the criteria that is required in order for the idea to be killer and to work.
  6. Stretch it out: take your idea and then stretch it even further to design out any downsides.
  7. Launch into a rising tide: know what else is happening in the zeitgeists in the world, what trends exist that you might be able to leverage and where you can benefit from other momentum.
  8. Listen with open ears: your ideas won’t exist in a vacuum once they’re out in the world, so how do you take the feedback and experiences of your end users to build your idea even further.

Big idea #3 — Space, inputs, time

Killer ideas don’t appear fully formed. As Tim says in the book, we need to get better at nurturing them into existence and make sure that we have the space, the inputs, and the time in order to make our idea even better.

Giving an idea space might look like physical space for it to float around and ferment. You might plan to go on a boring long drive, do some chores, or go out on a hike and immerse your idea in the physical space of nature to grow.

Some ideas need fertilisation along with the fermentation of space. You can fertilise your ideas through inputssuch as conversations, reading about adjacent or abstract ideas, listening to music, or even peeling a piece of fruit. The important thing here is to think about where are those inputs coming from, and how might they help your idea.

Finally, time; boredom, sleep, and purposeful thinking time are the key ingredients to giving yourself the time to think about the idea in a deeper way. Schedule boredom into your days and weeks, and definitely make sure all of your ideas get slept on

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