A good idea, like lightning, often hits at random. Sometimes in search of inspiration, days go by, sometimes an hour can give a dozen good ideas. ALSO REFER, 7 Ways to Generate Great Ideas
And sometimes, an idea suddenly strikes late at night, when you are almost asleep, and if you do not write down the idea, you can not remember in the morning.
Regular generation of good ideas is an important task for many professionals: entrepreneurs, writers, artists or marketers.
Creativity and the process of creating ideas are still covered with a veil of mystery.
But for a start:
Where do the good ideas come from?
Before we talk about ideology, let’s take a closer look at what an idea is. The author of “Eat, Pray, Love” Elizabeth Gilbert sees the ideas as follows:
- Ideas come exclusively from mental efforts: using willpower and focus, one can come to the idea through trial and error. However, this can be frustrating, since responsibility rests entirely on the thinker.
- Ideas are an unexpected gift from forces beyond our control. Earlier (and today) we imagined a “muse” – the spirit of inspiration that is hovering over us – which gives us good ideas.
In fact, the generation of ideas is a combination of the approaches listed above. Everything that you learn from this world is processed by the brain. Ideas are just the interrelationships between this knowledge.
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Creative thinking activates different parts of the brain at different stages. However, for the spontaneous and controlled discovery of a new relationship between concepts, the prefrontal cortex mostly answers.
Creativity is the process of connecting points. Each point is experience, concept or knowledge. This concept can be traced in many stories about great inventions and discoveries. So, everyone is familiar with the story of how Isaac Newton discovered the law of universal gravitation: he related the fall of an apple to the already existing knowledge of physics and mathematics.
One of the magic aspects of ideology is how we create something new from what is already known, just look at the world from a different angle. At the same time it seems that most of the great ideas give birth by pure chance, but those who earn ideas for life can assure you that they can be generated on demand.
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4 stages of conscious ideation
The creative process is easier to understand using the Graham Wallis model, which breaks it into 4 stages:
- Preparation : definition of the problem and requirements, information gathering
- Incubation : allocation of time for working out different combinations of what you have collected in the first stage
- Illuminations : the generation of ideas and the beginning of its elaboration
- Verification : verification of the idea for compliance with all requirements established at the first stage
If the idea does not pass verification, it is necessary to return to the stage of incubation or preparation and try again.
Consciously passing through all these stages and applying tactics that will help at every step, you will be able to improve your efficiency and generate the best ideas on a regular basis.
1. Preparation: Collection of information
The more information you have, the more opportunities. At this stage it is important to determine which cards you have and what game you are playing.
To begin with, you need to clearly articulate your goal. Do you need a catchy slogan? Do you want to earn a certain amount?
Here you should also consider all the restrictions: What is your budget? How much time do you have? For what audience is the idea created?
Specify your problem as precisely as possible: “I want to earn $ 1,000 for two months to go on vacation” or “I want to cover 10,000 new cat owners with my marketing campaign” .
When determining the problem, it is useful to resort to SWOT analysis. It will help you evaluate your capabilities, as well as identify possible external and internal obstacles.
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Research is also an important part of this phase. Any good research begins with questions that will help you fill in the missing information. Here are some tips:
- Use the search to learn more about your problem and related topics
- Use Google Trends to identify popular topics and trends
- Discuss with other users an exciting topic for you to get useful information
- Ask questions on special services
- Review the existing solutions to your problem and the implementation of similar ideas
In theory this process can last forever, so try not to get hung up and go to the second stage as soon as possible. You can return to it later if you can not generate a good idea.
2. Incubation: joining points
“I do not sit idle – my idea at the stage of incubation.”
Sounds like an excuse, but there is a good reason why so often, if you ignore the problem, its solution suddenly comes.
At the stage of incubation, we move away from the problem and everything that was collected during the preparation stage in order to give our brain the ability to connect points.
Incubation can take place either actively or passively. Do not worry if you want to take a break or do something else if nothing comes to mind.
However, one should train creativity in one of the following ways:
- Free essay: Write about your problem. Write down all ideas and thoughts, not paying attention to spelling. This will help your brain to stretch and outline certain patterns.
- Creating a Map of Thinking: Write a problem in the center of the board or a sheet of paper, then draw all possible concepts and connections between them.
- Drawing up lists: Make a list of potential decisions, grouping them into main and secondary categories.
- Venn diagram: Draw two or more intersecting circles, mark the differences and commonalities where they intersect. This approach is especially useful in creating analogies and searching for an explanation of some phenomena.
Ask for help, because one head is good, but two is better. Explain your problem and the process of solving it to someone you trust, and arrange a discussion on the rule “Yes, but …” in order to maximize each of the ideas.
A large number of ideas are much more important at this stage than their quality. Do not throw away even “bad” ideas. You never know what connections inspire you to something useful. In the end, these ideas will prepare your brain for the next stage.
3. Illumination: the capture of fascinating ideas
This is the same effect as “Eureka!” When an idea is born from inspiration. It is these moments that are the beginning of the stunning stories of inventors and entrepreneurs.
A wave of illumination seems to cover you, when you least expect it. And there is an explanation for this. The brain often produces such outbreaks when your frontal lobes do not work at full capacity.
That’s why it’s so important to turn off for a while from the problem and let the idea ripen in your head until you are inspired by inspiration.
When this happens, fix as many details as possible until the idea disappears. Such moments are rare, so try to get the most out of them.
Many creative people keep a journal of ideas, which is very useful in moments of insight. Usually this is a notebook or application on a smartphone.
4. Verification: evaluation and optimization of the idea
“Punch” your idea and see if it will stay afloat. At this stage, it is necessary to understand whether the idea corresponds to your requirements.
Try not just to be objective, take the position of the devil’s advocate and ask difficult questions. Do not be afraid to abandon the idea if it does not meet your requirements, or if you can not adapt it for work.
It should also be appreciated how similar ideas have already been implemented.
Analyzing similar projects, you will understand at what stage it is necessary to “invent a bicycle” and in what moments you can improve the idea. This is a common practice in marketing, where inspiration for ideas is often drawn from the work of competitors.
If you think that the idea is too abstract, and it scares you of its uncertainty, recall the words of Seth Godin:
“The attempt to fit into a saturated market is doomed to failure, and the inability to stand out is just like being invisible.”
Your differences will work for you until the time that suits your audience. Do not forget how important it is to attract and retain the attention of consumers.
Planned and spontaneous creativity
No matter how hard we try, we can not find inspiration when we need it. You can fight against procrastination, seek the secrets of increasing efficiency, but there will always be times when creativity can not be controlled.
Some argue that creativity is higher at certain times of the day. However, this is largely individual. Famous personalities were engaged in creativity at different times. However, they are united by one common feature: they relied on routine in order to improve their creative results.
Owl you or a lark, try to get the most out of your most productive hours. Let creativity become a habit. After all, creative thinking needs to be regularly trained, like muscles, in order to get good results. If you constantly wait for inspiration, you can not wait for it.
The more you study the world around you, the more links you establish, the easier it will be for you to generate good ideas. Therefore, constantly expand your horizons and try yourself in something new. Make the creation of ideas your lifestyle.