What tools do you have in your ideas toolbox?

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If you had to flee your country in the dead of the night to make a new life elsewhere, what idea generation techniques would you want to have with you?

I suppose I’ve been thinking about that question not because I feel under threat in the country am living in but because the question sharply focuses on which idea generation tools haved worked so effectively for me and others.

What idea generation techniques have worked best for you?

Which ones couldn’t you do without?

The idea generation methods I’d choose would not be many. Why is that? Because I found that although I’ve tried out many, there are only a handful I keep coming back to.

Would my tools be fishbone diagrams, fantasy envelope games, brain writing, the Lotus Blossom technique or the NHK technique developed by Hiroshi Takahashi?

These are all amazing enough but more remarkable are the simple tools that I use constantly and that are so effective that I don’t need to grope for others.

One of the most amazing idea generation techniques I’d make sure all was with me wherever I was is the 20-Idea Method. This technique, first suggested by Earl Nightingale and later popularised by Brian Tracy, assists with coming up with ideas anywhere and at any time. All you need is a piece of paper and a pen.

Mind mapping is another technique, especially for connections between thoughts and concepts that don’t bear any relation to each other. Mind maps seem to help the brain to think. They have so many uses which are only limited by one’s imagination.

Fusion card, a process I’ve developed helps you to take ideas and “fuse” them together. This technique has been responsible for many new products and services albeit not under the name I’ve given it here.

Random idea generation with word association works very well especially to help business people quickly break into new thinking patterns. I’ve given this one developed by Michael Michalko a few twists of my own. It’s effective for small business people to spark ideas for products and services.

I’d add freewriting as another effective tool. You’ve just got to know how to use it effectively otherwise you’ll spew out complete junk.

All included, five tools. That’s all I’d need. For complex problems, you may want to know a few more idea generation techniques. But these five I’d pack and take with me in the middle of the night.

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