Whether you’re a writer, a businessman, or an accountant, you constantly need ideas. Sometimes, you try to come up with easier ways to solve certain problems. Sometimes, you are in a process of creating a new product, a new method, or a new advertising campaign.
Maybe, you need ideas to persuade somebody, organize something, or resolve a relationship issue. In any case, we all would benefit a lot from the skill of generating ideas whenever we need them, on demand.
There are lots of techniques which could help you in this task. I will share with you those methods that I’ve used and that proved effective.
1. Diversify your brainstorming.
The easiest way to do that is, of course, bullet points. Just take a sheet of paper or open a new document in your computer and start writing. Put in all ideas that come to your mind without criticizing them. Another way you can brainstorm is use mind mapping. We won’t go into detail, but if you’re interested, google it.
However, my favorite method is the following. I write ideas on small pieces of paper or sticky notes, one idea per a note. Then I organize them, rearrange them, put them into categories and write a plan on how to apply the best ones. This way is the best because you can see all ideas in front of you on the table, floor or board. It’s easy and very convenient.
In his book Thinkertoys Michael Michalko reveals several great techniques. SCAMPER is one of them. It’s a checklist of idea-spurring questions. I want to mention this technique because it includes several different methods and ways to generate ideas.
First of all state the challenge or subject you want to think about. Then ask SCAMPER questions about each step of the challenge and see what new ideas come to your mind.
- What can I SUBSTITUTE?
- What can I COMBINE?
- What can I ADAPT?
- How can it be MODIFIED or MAGNIFIED?
- How can I PUT it to other use?
- What can I ELIMINATE?
- What is the REVERSE of this?
- What REARRANGEMENT might be better?
3. Create your own image board.
Another great way to inspire the birth of ideas is to create a board of images. As you are working on a challenge, select pictures, photographs, or diagrams that are relevant to your target and pin them to the board. Some people make a special folder in their computer and open it whenever they need inspiration.
Most of us think visually, not verbally. I remember when a picture of a road gave me an idea for the logo of my new company.
4. Take a break.
I love this technique because it’s simple and works 90% of the time. It’s based on the information in the book by Barbara Oakley A Mind for Numbers. She argues that our brain works in two modes: focused and diffuse. If you need to come up with an idea or a solution to your problem, focus on the challenge for some time and then take a break. Go for a run, make yourself a cup of tea, take a short nap or do anything else that would distract your brain from the challenge at hand. Your brain will be forced to get into the diffuse mode and it will be looking for the solution while you’re resting.
There are several examples of well-known individuals who used this technique in their creative processes. Among them are Salvador Dali and Thomas Edison. I can personally testify that it works. Whenever I feel stuck trying to come with an idea or a solution, a little break works magic. Try it yourself.
These are four best techniques to come up with awesome ideas on demand. There are many more in my Creativity Power course that will be launched in June. If you would like to learn more about creativity and generate unique ideas, download my FREE Guide to Finding Ideas and Solutions.
Enjoy your life and shine your light! This world will benefit from your ideas!