The best business minds and authors have all hit a road block or writer’s block at some point in their careers where their idea generator fails. It’s that point in the day where you’re tasked with creating the next best campaign or story, and the only item on the creative campus is pure white space. The only thing you need is one great idea generation prompt to finish the day on a good note. Whenever I feel ‘stumped,’ it’s usually because I’m trying too hard not to use an idea that has already been brought up by the team in a past meeting, or a story that has already been used over and over again. I’m choking my mental pipeline for new ideas, and the ideas have not even begun to flow – yet.
Instead of tossing potentially great ideas for your new startup marketing plan or book idea, try these idea generation techniques to jump over the block and get running in the right direction. You don’t have to be a genius to create a genius invention. You just need a solid idea that is executed by some savvy people.
When you are a start-up or small business, it’s not just the financials you have to focus on, but you know you have to innovate to grow and stay one step ahead of the competition. Also, you may not have the budget to hire a team of seasoned and skilled marketing professionals. Here are some tips to create your own idea generator to get fresh, new ideas and your next project off the ground:
Write Down Every Suggestion
Most professionals are conscious about looking stupid in front of their co-workers. It’s a survival instinct. However, you perform better when you take off the self-imposed filter to give your idea a fighting chance – each and every one of them. When brainstorming at the white board, note small things like ‘incorporate meaningful hashtags,’ ‘photograph winner with parents,’ or ‘have studio create black & white version.’ You never know when small details will turn into impactful elements. Your idea generator can also be in the form of a notebook, scrapbook or even your digital tablet.
If you’ve ever figured out a challenge at work during the solo drive home while talking to yourself, this one should be easy. When your goal is to come up with a new business idea or solve a problem, try talking it out. Think of elements surrounding the goal you are trying to achieve, such as the overall message, people involved, resources required and individual processes. Idea generation techniques of this kind don’t necessarily require group brainstorming sessions. Also, try answering this question out loud: “what would sound absolutely crazy to my boss/team/co-workers/customers, but yield awesome results?” Now, write it down.
Break the Fabricated Rules
This is easier to do when you are in a start-up or small business (especially when you happen to be the CEO). Certain organizational influences and direct orders will constrain ideas in the incubation phase by saying the new idea “costs too much,” “is too extreme” and “is not relevant.”
My recommendation would be to worry about the budget, graphical nature, and targeted message down the road. Firstly, concentrate on the idea generation and get the concept right. If you have to tone it down, that’s simpler after the core concept is established and understood. Two of my favourite examples of breaking from the norm include these commercials from Kmart and Dove.
The idea generator is organic by nature. A robot, algorithm or a machine does not create these ideas for you. Therefore, these ideas should look, feel, and act with your personal touch. In other words, they shouldn’t be too generic or complacent. After all, you’re an entrepreneur and there is nothing ‘basic’ about you!
The next time you’re having trouble coming up with the next suave idea, remember, part of the process (and fun) of coming up with a great idea is the journey, and the time it takes to make that idea a reality. In the end, the journey is worth it, and so is your idea that you took the time to cultivate into the next great marketing concept, business start-up or awesome project.
What tricks do you use to generate great ideas? Are your idea generation techniques different from the norm? Share your thoughts and comments below. Thanks!