I was surprised to hear someone who should know better saying the other day that people don’t know how to come up with ideas.
How on earth can anyone say that?
Humans from a very early age come up with ideas for all sorts of things. Birthday parties, fun games and interesting combinations to eat.
In the adult world people could hardly function without new ideas. They come up with them all the time. For making tasty dinners, ways to make extra money on weekends, garden layouts and better ways to do their jobs.
Yes, you could say people may struggle with new business ideas for products and services. But take a good look around and you’ll see thousands of products that have been made in the home oven, from the kitchen table, study, spare room, garage or backyard.
The simple fact of the matter is that even global products have been concocted in the family garage. Think Steve Jobs or Bill Gates. Hell, Richard Branson worked his ideas from a phone booth.
In competitive consumer and industrial goods markets, the idea generation process may be more formalised but still some of the biggest breakthroughs have come from individuals not brainstorm teams.
Here’s a short list to encourage ideas if you need some prompting or inspiration:
1. Go take a shower. Just letting your mind wander works wonders.
2. Make time for an enjoyable walk around the block.
3. Visit someplace different; get a new perspective.
4. Observe mundane objects and see new connections.
5. Listen to family, friends, customers, suppliers. What turns them on, freaks them out or makes them cry? James Adams in “Conceptual Blockbusting” called this making a “bug” list.
6. Walk around a busy marketplace – spot what’s new. I saw a new style coffee shop on the weekend. It’s simple but could be a winner.
7. Quick, make a list of 20 ideas, getting them down in 10 minutes. There’s sure to be at least one good idea there.
In no time at all, you will come up with new ideas. Do things like this more often and you’ll be able to pick and choose ideas you want to develop further and grow.