Over at Wired Science, Jonah Lehrer looks into how we identify good ideas:
I’ve always been fascinated by the failures of genius. Consider Bob Dylan. How did the same songwriter who produced Blood on the Tracks and Blonde on Blonde also conclude that Down in the Groove was worthy of release? Or what about Steve Jobs: what did he possibly see in the hockey puck mouse? How could Bono not realize that Spiderman was a disaster? And why have so many of my favorite novelists produced so many middling works?
A big part seems to lie in letting your ideas marinate in your head for a while to give you some distance and perspective.