Ideas. We all have them, but sometimes when you are really trying to nail it, it can feel like you hit a wall. It can happen at the worst times, you are so close to a breakthrough but can’t quite make it. 

Then there are those fantastic moments when you are relaxing in the shower and BAM, it hits you. And you don’t have a pen and paper to write it. 

When we move our idea generation processes outside the standard conventional thought space, we can make connections that can change, innovate, and create. 

So let’s talk more about ideas, and some idea generation techniques that you should know about. 

Ideas

There are some stages to ideas, and like everything, it makes sense once you understand more about it. 

Generation – the generation stage of ideas can often be the hardest part. Identify the problem you are solving, consumer insights, and core competencies. For the consumer insights, you are looking to make use of your market research, and other data that you have about your customers. Focus groups, surveys, and other participation tools can be useful here. Core competencies will look at how you or your business can make use of those ideas. 

Selection – This can be the tough part. For every 45 ideas on the table but 23 might be nonstarters. 10 might have some legs, but it might be too early to make them work. The next 10 involve some tools and resources that you don’t have access to. Then you have two that could both have potential. 

Implementation – time to take action based on the businesses capabilities to see the ideas come to fruition. 

Idea Generation Techniques 

Now you know some of the basic processes from taking an idea from conception to fruition, it’s time to look at some idea generation techniques. 

Reverse Thinking

Just like the name suggests, this is about flipping things over. Looking at what you don’t want will often give you clarity on what you do want. For example:

‘I want less traffic on my website’

Then you make a list of everything that you could do to give you less traffic:

  • A worse user experience
  • Messy menu
  • A lot of pop-up advertisements
  • A lot of 404 errors

The alternative to get more traffic is then:

  • Improve the user experience
  • Clean up your menu, make it easy to navigate
  • Trim back the pop-up advertisements
  • Look into your redirects

Action

You’re going to need a bag and a lot of random objects. For each object that you pull out, you need to think about an alternative use for it, and how you would sell it. This can help your brain to start making those all-important connections, and you can then apply that abstracted thinking to your current idea requirement. 

Doing something with your hands, like DIY and building, can help give you brain time to step back, and make connections in the background. Building things for your office space will keep you in the work zone, you will achieve something, and give your mind space to ‘think’. Why not find out more  about the tools you will need and how they can be used to build what you need. 

Kinetic learning is important for many people as it can help the brain visualise. You can combine making, creating an action to help your creative juices flow. 

Mindmapping

This is one of the most popular idea generation techniques. It allows you to fully explore a topic and even find loose connections. Writing down each fact or idea connected to a single pain-point or topic. Using simple lines to connect the main topic with concepts, ideas, and even words that link. This can be a very useful visual element to your idea generation. 

Mood Board

You might not have an idea solidified, but you understand how it should feel and the textures. Building a mood board can help those things crystalize. Using colors, images, and textures – even music, to build an immersive experience related to the idea you need can help you see the bigger picture – and the smaller details. 

Free Writing

Free writing might be the most simple form of idea generation. It can be referred to as an accidental genius too. You’ll need a pen and some paper and just write. Anything that comes to mind about the topic or the pain-point you are looking to solve. The writing can help to trigger content, insight, and some of the best ideas too. 

Idea generation can be a lot of fun but is a crucial part of how many businesses create new products, and the genius marketing campaigns that go with them. 

Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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