Idea Generation Techniques

What is an idea?

It is moment of inspiration. It is the culmination of a process. It is a new way of looking at observable reality. However you define it, an idea is a unique opportunity. Ideas have power. Ideas are alive. Ideas capture the imaginations and hearts of disparate individuals and bring them together. Ideas effect change. Ideas go boldly where no one has gone before. Ideas are badass.

Where do ideas come from?

Many people would say ideas come from “the imagination” or “from contemplation”. While somewhat accurate, these aren’t really the answer. Instead of directly addressing the question, they skirt around the edge of the issue, sort of like when a little kid asks, “Where do babies come from?” and you answer, “From love.” While that answer is hopefully true, that kind of response doesn’t address the question behind the question, which is, “How can I come up with ideas?” We need idea generation techniques to help us keep a steady stream of ideas flowing in our minds and in our businesses.

Ideas come from experiences.

What you do, see, read, hear, taste and touch all form the raw materials out of which great (and not so great) ideas are born. Ideas are not born in a vacuum.

No one came up with a great idea after spending all their time surrounded by the same four walls. Ideas are like seeds. Seeds need water and light and warmth to germinate, grow and bear fruit. Ideas also need water, in the form of experience, and light, in the form of events, and warmth, in the form of encounters, in order to germinate, grow and bear their own special fruit.

This is the part so many people miss.

If you want to come up with great, game changing ideas, you need to get out and experience life. Then you’ll have plenty of fodder for whatever idea generation techniques you prefer to use.

Now, by “experiencing life”, I don’t mean going to the store, taking the cat to the vet or filling the car up with gas. I mean doing things you’ve never done before. Taking risks. Big ones, small ones. Trying new things. Exploring. Meeting new people and making new friends.

Ideas are generated by making connections.

If all you have to work with is information that you’ve possessed for years, then the connections between these old pieces of information will be ones you’ve made thousands of times in the past. However, when you add new information into the mix, information gleaned from new experiences, then fresh and unique connections between what you already knew and what you’ve just learned become possible. These new connections are how ideas are born.

Explore idea generation techniques to find what works for you:

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Need some help generating ideas? Check out our new guide: Ideation! Idea Generation Guide
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