Gregg Fraley © 2008
Wouldn’t you like to have more ideas to meet your challenges? Make the most of your creative thinking capacity by using these six proven techniques for easy, and effective idea generation:
- Make sure you understand the challenge first. Take some time and do some research on the situation. You may find that you have a fundamental misunderstanding of what actually is going on. Play with seeing it from a completely different angle, like, how would Abe Lincoln see this? Try flipping the perspective, maybe it’s not a selling problem, but a problem with perception of value.
- Defer judgment. When making your list of ideas to solve your problem, just list any idea that comes to you and get into a flow. Don’t be critical or analytical about the ideas, and don’t censor yourself. Even obvious or “stupid” ideas can be a stepping stone to a better idea, so they serve a purpose.
- Get into a playful mindset. Even when the problem is dead serious, a playful mindset is what you want when generating more ideas. The thing said in jest can spark something practical that works. For instance, a woman put up a jokey web site about tumbleweeds to practice building websites. She’s now making a living selling tumbleweeds.
- Make longer lists of ideas. Call it the quantity principle. When confronted with a challenge that requires ideas most of us stop after thinking of just a few things we might do. If you make a longer list of options and give it just a bit more time you exponentially increase your odds of having a better, and possibly a breakthrough idea.
- Write your ideas down. How basic can you get, right? The thing is most of us have good ideas, flashes of insight, at odd moments and we neglect to write them down. We think we’ll remember, but in truth they often vanish into the ether. Carry a small notebook to keep your idea lists with you at all times. If you think you don’t have many great ideas, all the more reason not to waste the few you do have. It’s also a great thing to pull out when you are waiting in line at the bank or the grocery store (see #4!)
- Once you have a long list, create combinations. Marketers know that the easiest way to create a new product is to make a new combination. Think of those gym shoes kids have with the tiny roller skate wheels – a simple combination that sold a lot of shoes. Review your long list of ideas and see if you can combine two or more to create a more powerful idea to solve your problem or meet your challenge.
Final thought: Creative thinking is a full time occupation. If you continuously ask your brain to come up with more options, it will respond with ideas for you. So, put yourself to work everyday thinking, dedicate time to it, and use the methods above to make your thinking more effective. Best of luck – and remember, you’ll be making your own luck by using your own creative skills .