One brilliant thought, that commits to action is priceless. Most successful enterprises all begin with one single idea, a concept that’s built into a theory, that develops into a solid foundation – The ability of something intangible to convert to something tangible that gives fruit. Yet ever so often, it’s the idea that evades us.
Everybody wants a great idea. But, not everybody knows how.
The secret to generate a great idea is simply to connect.
Creativity is the ability to see things everybody else sees, but to relate them to completely unrelated things, to form a new connection. Remember Newton and the apple? How many other people would’ve wondered what caused the apple to fall to the ground? Now that was a great idea.
Get those creative juices flowing
First, set a goal for yourself. Goals are time-oriented, ideas however aren’t. You can’t expect to get great ideas if you keep thinking of how much time you have left to come up with something good.
Relax. Go for a walk or listen to your favorite music. And while doing any of this, try to imagine. Imagination is the key to unlocking great ideas. Think of your concept. What do you need to make it work? Think of similar things you’ve seen and heard that are related to your concept.
Open your notepad. Write your key word/ key concept at the center of the page. Now write the similar words around the key concept and work your way towards the end of the page, with the most similar words nearer to the key word and the least similar words towards the page ends. Now try to establish a connect between the words.
For example, if your key concept is a product, evaluate it’s strengths and weaknesses. Now do the same for the similar products, understand what you can work with and what should be worked upon.
Capture every idea
Ideas will hit you at any stage of the thought process. If you’re lucky, ideas will hit you at every stage of it. What you should keep in mind is that every idea should be noted. You may just chance upon something good right while you’re in the middle of doing something else. Remember, an idea missed is an idea lost.
Often, what you oversee maybe captured by someone else. Always ask other people about your concept as well, so that you get an all-round perspective on things. This will help you widen your horizon and broaden your thought base.
What are metaphors? ‘A figure of speech which an implied comparison is made between two unlike things that actually have something in common’ is the dictionary meaning. eg. “Love is a rose’. The usage of metaphors helps anybody,absolutely anybody get creative ideas. Believe me.
Here’s the story of how the popular chips brand ‘Pringles’ was invented:
In the 1960s, William Gordon, a psychologist and inventor with around 200 patents, was asked by Proctor and Gamble to solve the problem of disappointed customers who opened big bags of chips only find them mostly filled with air. Gordon discovered the solution while raking his backyard.
On a dry sunny day, he noticed the leaves would crumble as he shoved them into the bag while, on a rainy day, the wet leaves would not break. In fact, each wet leaf conformed to the shape of its neighbor, making it easy to pack the bag. The idea of wetting and forming dried potato flour in a similar fashion gave birth to Pringles.
Similarly, juice boxes and food packages are packaged in hues of red and yellow to stimulate appetite as well as to give the prospective buyer an idea of the nature of the content inside.
What’s unrelated can be related too
Use unrelated terms to create new perspectives and fresh ideas. Lets assume our key word is ‘yellow.’ You can start thinking of related and unrelated words like sunshine, flowers, lemons, tweety birds. This is the first level.
In the next level, you can think of reactions and emotions that the first level words bring about- let’s say warmth, brightness, tang, happiness, humor, light etc. Once you start, you’ll see that it’s really easy to go on.
Now let’s take one of the above terms say, light and think of something related. Maybe a biscuit or a cracker. Haven’t you come a long way from your keyword?
Soon you will be able to establish a connect between your keywords and the related and unrelated terms, to see things in a entirely fresh and new perspective.
Once everybody has made their separate lists, collective brainstorming creates the coming together of ideas. During this, one can highlight and eliminate ideas to close in on one idea that stands out.
Ask for feedback
Talk to people who are not part of the creative process but are part of the target group for feedback on your idea. Often overlooked facts and loopholes may come to the fore here, which you can rectify.
In the bigger picture, the best way to get ideas is to keep thinking, to keep working on ideas. Existing ideas can prove as great basis for better ideas, just as each level must be conquered to move to the next.
On an everyday basis, try reading and researching as much as you can. There really is no substitute for knowledge.
Alternately, if you’re feeling void of ideas, take a break or a nap. Sleep over it. Remember, you can’t force a brilliant idea. The best ideas often come when you least expect them!