The seed of success for most things in life — personal relationships, health, business, community — is creative thinking. It doesn’t matter if it’s thinking disguised as intuition, decision-making or problem-solving.
Creativity helps you come up with more imaginative ideas, do something new and different and even profit from your ideas if they are materialised into products and services.
Where do you get your best ideas? Some say they get their brilliant ideas in the shower. Others find inspiration when walking outdoors. Some of the most profitable ideas have come about just by observing others and listening to other people’s problems and suddenly coming up with a novel or innovative solution.
How do you get ideas? Do you follow a process or framework?
If you want to gently coax new ideas, here are some creativity techniques that range from the more well-known to those that are exotically creative.
1 The 20-Idea Method. With this creativity technique you write out your challenge or problem and come up as rapidly as possible with 20 new ideas. If you don’t hit something that holds potential, you can try the method for 10 or 20 minutes every day for a week. At the end of a five-day week you will have 100 new ideas.
2 Desire map. Using this creativity technique you outline a particular topic or object of desire. If, for example, you are exploring the food business, you may want to list or map out sub-topics such as canned foods, bottle foods, fresh foods, herbs, spices, the history of food healthy food convenience food and so on.
2 Visual montage. Make a montage from images you get out of brochures, product catalogues, magazines and leaflets. Take a look at your montage after a few days or a week and see if there are any interesting combinations because of random juxtaposition of objects.
3 Crowd bathing. Go out into a crowd in the morning markets, farmers market, tradeshow or large shopping mall and just “swim” with the people. Jot down your impressions afterwards.
4 Street photography. Use your cell phone or small camera to take random shots of objects are things you find interesting in retail street scenes, shopping centres or morning markets. Look at your photographs afterwards and see face spur any new ideas.
5 Freewriting. Sit down with a piece of paper or your laptop or iPad and write without stopping, paying no attention to spelling or grammar, for 10 or 15 minutes. Explore a problem or issue and see what you come up with.
Remember that the creative process follows distinct phases including preparation, incubation, insight, evaluation and development or execution. Don’t be too hasty to criticise your ideas before you given them a chance to percolate in your mind. It’s a curious thing that the more you deliberately search for ideas, the more you increase your chances of coming up with that one viable business idea.
If the power of idea generation, speed thinking, the elements of effective thinking and finding opportunities for yourself is something you want right now, then click here to see “Breakthrough Ideas: How accelerated creative thinking can help you with a personal leap forward”.