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Brainstorming methods to get ideas flowing
  • Gareth Tennant
  • Strategy

Brainstorming methods to get ideas flowing

Have you ever thought about where good ideas come from? How about the best way to get good ideas? Or even effective brainstorming methods to get ideas flowing? Here are some of the smartest brainstorming methods that I think will be helpful. Before I do so, I would like to challenge you. Ready? Think about red smarties. Got it? Now think about some other small objects. Take a moment to do so…

What did you think about? Something like M&M’s? Sweets? Pencil shavings? Poker chips? Regardless of what you thought about, I bet you it was small enough to fit in your hand and you could see it. But what about something that you CAN’T see? Something microscopic. A microorganism. Or even light. An element. An idea. I believe we are often looking for the right thing in the wrong place or looking at it with the wrong mindset. Most people would have thought of a few small items that were restricted to my original item (the red smarties).

When it comes to brainstorming I believe we need to break out of our standard way of thinking and move away from our current mindset.

3 brainstorming methods to get ideas flowing:

1. Do what you love

Nick Woodman (CEO of GoPro Inc.) talks about discovering his BIG idea of building a selfie-shooting camera by first setting off on a major surf trip. One of the purposes of this trip was to figure out what he wanted to do next. Just before he left for this trip, he stumbled upon the idea of the first GoPro concept. Nick explains how much he loves to surf and also talks about doing what you love to do. This method would be my first suggestion to come up with your big idea. Get out and do what you love. Maybe it’s surfing, like Nick. Maybe it’s gymnastics (as it is for me) or maybe it’s sitting in a coffee shop reading books. Whatever it is, do what you love to help stimulate those good emotions and great ideas.

2. Work under pressure

In his TED talk, ‘The surprising habits of original thinkers’, Adam Grant talks about one of the influences that create good ideas. Procrastination. He describes procrastination as a virtue. It’s very seldom that your first idea is your best idea. Think about that. Sometimes we perform at our best when we are under pressure, even if we have created that pressure ourselves. Here’s a good example; I wrote this article under pressure. I had missed the deadline for wanting to write it and was feeling a lot of pressure to do so. When the pressure had become too much and I had procrastinated enough, I sat down, put on some trance (trance music helps me think) and the ideas started to flow. Sometimes working under pressure helps.

3. Brainstorm with others

Ask people. I always ask people what they think about my idea/s and encourage them to help me. Other people can be a great source of information and ideas. Just like the red smarties above, their ideas could spark a whole other category or train of thought that you were not on. Tell me you didn’t think of more tiny items and even big ones once I had suggested a few alternatives…

4. Bonus brainstorming method

Drink. Now hear me out. I’m not talking too much, but sometimes a beer or glass of wine can help you stop thinking of all the ‘what ifs’, ‘can’ts’ and the ‘that’s not possibles’ in the world. No one ever succeeded greatly by coming up with an easy idea. There is always going to be negative pushback, and a drink or two (in moderation) can sometimes help with that. If you are a teetotaler, then repeat techniques 1-3.

In conclusion, there could be many brainstorming methods that work for you. These are just a few that might be of help to you. But remember, no good idea is just born. It is sometimes a collection of ideas, people and places that make the final idea come together and make the brainstorming process a successful one.

If you need help brainstorming around an idea you have had and you think you may need a digital solution to make your idea a reality, give us a call.

Looking for a digital solution?

Gareth Tennant

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