how to get ideasComing up with new ideas isn’t always easy. And while there are loads of different ways you can create the opportunities for ideas to spring to mind, there is one fundamental ingredient you must have if you want to get new and innovative ideas. You need to give them space to grow.

To begin with though, have you thought about how you actually come up with ideas? Do you already have a method whereby you allow ideas to come into existence? For example, do you go running or some other form of exercise to create the space to come up with new ways of solving known problems? And what about coming up with ideas about how to help your friends, family, community and the world at large? Idea-generation doesn’t stop with just your needs.

Usually, ideas come about because you want to do something better or there is a problem that you have recognised that you want to help solve. This could be in your business, personal life, of in the lives of others.

What can happen with any new idea is that it can be discounted or dismissed even as it is being shared. The best way to describe this is with the phrase “All ideas are born dying”. This reflects that many people will talk down an idea even before it has been properly heard. The moment you even utter the words “I have an idea”, someone is already thinking “oh yeah, here we go. What crazy idea am I going to hear now?”

So, it is vital that you create a space in which you, and those who you will share your ideas with, are allowed to share any and all ideas without fear of ridicule or being dismissed as having nothing to offer.

Having a safe space in which you can share your ideas still will not actually help you come up with any ideas on its own. So, here are some prompting questions to get you thinking. In effect, this is a brainstorming session.

  • Is there a problem that you know of that needs a new solution?
  • Is there a need you know of that needs to be met?
  • Do you know someone who is in pain and you can help them overcome it?
  • Is there something exciting you want to experience or help others experience?
  • Is there a part of your community you want to see changed?
  • Is there a part of your city you want to see changed? Or even your country?
  • Have you always wanted to do something but you aren’t sure what?
  • If money was no object, what would you be doing (in your business, your job, your personal life)?

These prompting questions can be asked any time of day or night to help generate ideas. What often happens with ideas is that they come to you at times when you least expect it. You may be catching up with friends, watching a move, reading a book, doing some exercise, or even taking a shower when you have a brilliant idea hit you like a lightening bolt. When this does, as soon as you can be sure to capture as much of the idea in a notebook so you can review it later and share it with others

Once you have some ideas then it is time to share these in that safe space you have created. By sharing ideas, you can build off others’ knowledge and passion, and see what synergies may be between all the ideas. Synergy means that together there is a connected, and through that connection, greater achievement can be made then the separate parts acting independently. So, pair up with those who like your idea and can add to it with ideas of their own.

Finally, once you have some ideas and have seen about aligning these with any others that are relevant, you can then get to the point of seeing how to make the ideas become a reality. What resources do you need to make it happen? If you don’t have all the resources yourself, consider how you could get it. Certainly in business, this is part of partnerships and even buying in specialist help on a particular area. If it is an idea with your community, then perhaps it is finding out which of your neighbours and friends have the time to get behind the idea.

When creating an environment to come up with ideas, go crazy. Brainstorm ideas on a variety of topics, and then create the safe space in which to share these ideas with those you trust. In doing so, you have a greater chance that your creativity can flourish and help you identify ways to be more efficient, more effective and have more fun in what you do.

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