The pressure to come up with ideas can be overwhelming. Constant content creation seems to be a requisite of the workplace these days.
There’s a demand from your boss to find new ways to improve the workplace, your college lecturer wants to see a different approach than anyone else has shown, or you’re an entrepreneur and you recognize that without flagging yourself as someone who stands out different to the rest, you’re going to sink among all the other “me too” product creators.
The first thing you need to do is quit thinking of ideas as things that just happen. You’ve heard of brainstorming, right? That’s a situation where people decide to cognitively generate ideas.
They make the decision that they will create ideas within a timeframe – not that they will sit around the office for days, weeks or months waiting on some mysterious Muse to appear and give them a sign.
So, what exactly is brainstorming?
Brainstorming is a method people use to generate ideas to solve clearly defined design problems. In controlled conditions and a free-thinking environment, people approach a problem by such means as “How Might We” questions. They produce a vast array of ideas and you can then draw links between them to find potential solutions.
So, in essence, brainstorming is an activity that helps your organization generate more innovative ideas. Brainstorming is just one of many methods of ideation (the process of coming up with new ideas) and it occurs near the beginning of the creative process.
Why Use Brainstorming?
The complex business challenges of today require new solutions—trying to use what worked in the past simply won’t work any more.
Brainstorming is an effective way to:
- Get the creative juices flowing in a safe environment
- Produce a large number of ideas
- Generate ideas quickly
- Expand your arsenal of alternative options
- Get people unstuck
- Build enthusiasm
- Solve tricky problems
How do we brainstorm effectively?
Before we begin, here are a few brainstorming rules:
- Get everything down
- Defer judgment
- Encourage wild ideas
- Build on the ideas of others
- Stay focused on the topic
- Be visual
- Go for quantity
OK, now you’re ready to gt started, the first thing to do is write down all known facts and assumptions about the subject at hand. Then for each fact or assumption, ask “what if…?” Take the opposing view in your question.
“What if something else could create the same result?”
“What if we didn’t have a specific resource, then how would we create this?”
“What if everyone called in sick one day, then how would we minimize the damage?”
“What if I had only 10 minutes to do this – is there a template I could use over and over again to speed things up?”
Always challenge assumptions.
And remember, anything and everything is on the table; don’t stifle your imagination as you can cull ideas in the next step.
Strip things away
Often, we get caught up in finding new ideas to add to the existing processes we have in place. But it’s as valid to think about cutting away ideas as it is creating new ones.
You might have two different products in mind to create, and two different websites to market them through.
But by focusing on cutting out ideas you may discover that there is a core group who require both products – and then build just one website aimed at that core group.
Use different discovery tools
Many people swear by mind maps. Some prefer a word processor document – and others prefer spreadsheets.
Get away from your comfort level by using a different medium to dump your ideas out into. The process will feel different and make your brain respond differently – and often more creatively.
OK, so there are a few techniques that you can use to make the most of your brainstorming sessions.
And you can use this process to create a really strong stand out brand that is instantly recognisable. And if you want to learn more about branding the right way, then check out this free report here.