1. Expect to have ideas . If you believe you’re incapable of coming up with ideas then you won’t come up with any. Put aside any negativity about yourself or your creativity and expect to have ideas.
2. Keep and open mind. Ideas can come from anywhere and some of the best ideas will seem daft or impossible based on your current knowledge, experience and assumptions. Try to be prepared to explore new ideas and to change your view of the world.
3. Keep a written record of your ideas, ideas that inspire you or ideas that are new to you – When you write things down you are more likely to remember them and if you don’t you’ve got a record to refer back to. I keep a record of all the ideas I see, read/hear about or have and I review it regularly. My written record has also evolved into this blog full of ideas.
4. Try to learn something new every day. Talk to other business people, talk to your friends and neighbours, talk to anyone that looks interesting and will talk to you. Read websites, magazines, books whatever medium you prefer try to read something that will expand your knowledge everyday. I enjoy business/entrepreneurs biographies and histories especially those that explain where the business or idea for it came from.
5. Talk about your ideas. Talk about your ideas to anyone who will listen, more often that not it’s my wife who has to listen to my ideas, if she’s not around however I’ll talk to myself! Failing that write down what you’d say to someone to explain the idea. The point is that in explaining the idea you’ll usually spot flaws or areas for improvement thus making the idea better.
6. Ask questions and listen to peoples problems, hopes, dreams and aspirations. I always ask people what problems, issues or challenges they face in their business (or job), there are often good business opportunities in solving those problems. Peoples hopes, dreams and aspirations can provide ideas for example a business like Red Letter Days helps people fulfil their dreams by providing experiences such as driving a supercar or flying a plane. Weight Watchers appeals to those hoping to loose weight.
7. Research see what else is out there that is similar. Evaluate potential competition and keep notes on what you find. Use the search engines to look for similar ideas, businesses or products and take notes on them.
8. Draw a mind map. A mind map is a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks or other items linked to and arranged radially around a central key word or idea. It is used to generate, visualize, structure and classify ideas, and as an aid in study, organization, problem solving, decision making, and writing.
9. Synthesise ideas. Put two or more unrelated ideas together. One way to do this is to brainstorm with your team. You’ll get the best results if you’ve followed steps 1 – 6 first as you’ll have a larger pool of ideas to combine.
10. Sleep on it. Go away for a while and think of something else, often your subconscious mind will continue to work on the problem and will come up with new ideas or refinements on the ideas you already have.
Hat tip to Luke Houghton for the inspiring this post.Email This Post