Generating Ideas – The Best Techniques [Contributed Blog]November 29, 2019 - 6 minutes read - Contributed Posts, Idea Generation
It is often the case that ideas will spring up when you least expect them too. Like in the shower and you don’t have a way to write them down. And when you come back to it later, it doesn’t sound the same or has the same zing to it. Our brain shoots through many, many ideas, but when you are put on the spot, sometimes all of that creative juice can go missing.
Luckily there are many idea generation techniques that you can use to kick start your process.
Previously known as brainstorms these can be powerful sessions where a lot of stuff happens. There is a massive number of ideas that can be thrown in the pot by numerous people. During a thought shower, there won’t be a ranking of great ideas and bad ones, the point is there are no bad ideas. The weirder the idea, the better in most cases. There will likely be many ideas that can fit together and work as a whole.
Many people use the Pomodoro method or a work schedule app and are used to working by time limits. You can carry that over into quick-fire rounds of ideas. Have some words written on the board that you’d like links and ideas to revolve around and have speed rounds of idea generation. Not everything will make sense, and there will be some half-formed ideas, but the fast and the furious timed rounds often give surprising results.
Mindmapping has always been a very positive and enjoyable method of idea generation. The visual process is often excellent for people who work better with what they can see. There will be the main word in the center of a page and each line that is drawn from that point will have other facts, ideas and suggestions. Try to stick to using key phrases in the middle of the page, and cover whole tables in paper to let the creativity flow rather than cap people at the edge of an A4.
On the way to a great idea, many people work forward, which is pretty logical. However, working from the point of view of things you don’t want can give a lot of clarity for how you should move forward. So you take a problem in the form of a question:
‘How can I be more productive?’
And flip it around to:
‘How can I be less productive?’
Begin to list all of the ways that you can be less productive, get less done. And when you have a list of responses, you can usually flip to find the positive aspects and apply them into ideas.
Take the team out for a meal or a coffee. The walking and a different environment can change the way people think and feel. This, in turn, will lead to a change in the possible outcomes of conversations about a specific problem. When people are more relaxed, they often generate their best ideas. Let them break off into little groups, or talk at random, or sit somewhere else – with the idea that they will be discussing the problem at hand.
Start by writing down big wishes that you would consider to be hugely out of reach. And then have the people in the room thinking about steps to get to that outcome. Ideally, you will have 20-30 big wishes that you can work on over the space of the day, and a decent-sized team too. People love to daydream and making wishes is part of that. For example, you can go wild and ask how someone might create purple grass, how someone might create a website bigger than Facebook, or how to drive to the moon. The rest of the team can work on ways to make that happen. Expect some bizarre ideas, but they can be turned into something realistic and attainable with a little effort.
Every member of the team holds a pen to paper, and you can play a TEDtalk, write words on a board, or play a podcast and they can just write whatever ideas and thoughts pop into their heads. Of course, there will be some strange things on there, but the ideas will be written down as quickly as they are formulated. You can also get people to write 3 words each and pass it to the person next to them who then will write 3 ideas and so on. The pages might look messy, but there will be gold in there somewhere.
There can be a lot of fun in looking for inspiration, and with the right facilitator, the possibilities are endless.
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