10 recommended idea generation techniques

It happens to everyone that while doing an important project or job, they get stuck. Ideas don’t flow, we don’t find solutions, we don’t know what to do and frustration comes over us.

Fortunately, there are many tools to germinate creativity and we can come up with all kinds of innovative ideas to the problems we face.

Below we will look at various idea generation techniques, Applicable both alone and in a team, applicable in any context and without needing too many resources.

    Idea Generation Techniques You Should Try

    There are many techniques for generating ideas. Before using them, don’t believe that creativity and imagination are a gift, whether you have it or not. This is a myth.

    really everyone is creative, to a greater or lesser degree and in their own way and, like any skill, this can be put into practice. It’s just a matter of training, like who studies algebra to pass the math exam or who runs to win the marathon. Regardless of your starting level, there is always room for improvement.

    However, it must be borne in mind that the imagination, which is supposed to come on its own, does not come. Muses feel a predilection for those who rack their brains, reciting their beautiful songs in their ears in the form of innovative ideas. It is very important that for the creativity to come, we strive, devoting time to generate ideas. To paraphrase Pablo Picasso, if our imagination is to come to us, let it surprise us at work.

    Below we will see 10 very useful techniques for generating ideas, applicable to a myriad of contexts and situations, which can be practiced both in groups and individually.

    1. Brainstorming

    Brainstorming, also known as “brainstorming”, is the most well-known brainstorming technique. Usually used when you want to have many ideas in a short period of time, reaching over 100 ideas per hour in a good session.

    When this technique is used, it is about motivating all members of the group to give their ideas, however absurd they may appear and even if they do it in an unsystematic way.

    Once you have several ideas, they are analyzed and then filtered and, in case some are appropriate or really useful, they are accepted and you start to shape the project or the work in question.

    Although it is particularly suitable for group work, it can also be done individually. Its use in groups is particularly advantageous, because helps to strengthen collaboration between members, Invites to be tolerant with different points of view and contributes to a greater vision of openness towards new things.

    2. Mind maps

    Mind maps are graphically generated brainstorming techniques. consist of use a keyword or concept as a starting point for later adding ideas in the form of tree branches or radial structure.

    These tools do not need to follow a preset drawing or marked pattern, although it is advisable to put the keyword or idea in the center and add, radially, the other branches and sub-branches. This will avoid having a chaotic network of lines which will make it difficult to interpret.

    A tip when creating mind maps is that while they can be done in writing with paper and pen, it is a good idea to consider creating them with larger tools, such as chalkboards or, directly, by relying on a digital medium. Also, if you can resort to colors, symbols and designs, much better.

    This technique is really useful for solving complex problems., In which it is necessary to develop various ideas, try to describe them in more depth and present them visually for better understanding.

    To achieve it in the most efficient way, it is recommended to follow the following steps:

    First of all, we choose the place where we are going to work, whether it is a large sheet of paper, a large blackboard or a special digital medium for this type of technique (ex: GoConqr, Mindmeister, Litpen …)

    Once this step was over, we started from the center, putting the keyword, idea or problem to be solved. From there, we add any ideas that come to mind, but little related to the topic.

    Once you have chosen several ideas, they can be combined, on average as much as possible and depending on whether they have something to do.. They plug in and connect, draw lines and associate ideas with pictures or words.

      3. SCAMPER method

      The SCAMPER method is a creative technique that encourages the generation of ideas by answering a pre-established list of various questions respond and execute. These questions relate to the following seven aspects:

      • Replace: what can we replace? What if we replace the process …?
      • Combine: What if we combine this with each other?
      • Adapt: ​​How can we adapt the product / service to …?
      • Edit: What can be changed to better organize …?
      • Other uses: how can the product be used? Other contexts?
      • Delete: What can be deleted to simplify the product / service / project?
      • Reorganize: What happens if we change the structure of the service / project …?

      This technique raises something that is already known, an existing product or way of acting that, although it has worked other times, this time does not give all the results that one would like. The goal of this technique is to reverse the idea, to improve itApproaching the problem from several new angles, forcing team minds to work from a wide range of different possibilities.

      4. Future memory

      A great way to make an idea come to fruition, or find out if it’s good or not, is a visualization as if we had already carried it out. These ideas, at first glance, may seem absurd, but you will never know if they are a good idea or not if you don’t even dare to imagine what would happen if you had already put them into practice.

      The technique of future memory makes it possible to visualize the main mission, the purpose which gives meaning to the existence of the project or to the accomplishment of the work. In addition, it makes it possible to prioritize the fundamental values ​​by which this project, whether it is a group in a company or a work of the institute, takes its course.

      the being clear on where you want to be and how to visualize how to get there is one way to speed up the process to achieve the proposed goal., Since he visualizes something that has not yet been realized as something plausible, motivating the group to enter it, in addition to encouraging his creativity.

      5. Brainwriting

      “Brainwriting” is a variation of brainstorming, but in which group members are even more involved. It is made up of classmates who each write down their ideas on a piece of paper. Then after a while the leaves passed and, from what the classmates put in, put impressions on these ideas, Add new ones or take notes.

      This technique of generating ideas, in addition to being quite dynamic, allows you to dodge the barrier of shame and shyness, without damaging creativity. When passing the sheets, classmates should just read what the others have said and think of whatever comes to their mind.

      So there is no one who is “afraid” to say “stupid”, since, insofar as they are not recognized by the letter, each idea remains anonymous.

      6. Graphic script

      The graphic scenario or “storyboard” is a technique widely used in the graphic professions, as the creation of animated series, films and comics, although they can also be used to develop the intervention plan or how to proceed with a specific project.

      It consists in making, on a sheet of paper, a poster, a blackboard or the available medium, a cartoon in which each thumbnail is a certain action or an important point of the project. The ideas are presented in a schematic and sequential manner, which allows to have a general idea of ​​how the subject to be treated will evolve.

      7. The 6 hats

      The 6 hat technique is widely known in the field of thought psychology. The six hats symbolize different points of view, from which a specific problem or situation can be analyzed. When we wear a hat of a certain color, our perspective should change according to the following:

      • White: Focus on the data available, see the information you have.
      • Red: Observe problems using intuition and emotions.
      • Black: use good judgment and caution, highlight the negative of the problem.
      • Yellow: think positively.
      • Green: Be creative, apply various brainstorming techniques.
      • Blue: control and manage the thinking process. It sums up what has been said and draws conclusions.

      this technique it should be developed in groups, which requires each participant to contribute ideas and collaborate in the process from a different point of viewVery similar to how it is done in brainstorming.

      Observing the same problem from different angles gives a richer result during the discussion, allowing to exploit the capacities of all the members of the group. This technique is ideal for guiding discussions, as well as preventing participants from diverting their attention by focusing on their own discussion.

      8. Linked worlds

      The linked worlds technique is a tool that allows you to create from the combination of two radically different ideas (two worlds). In other words, that is to say it is about applying different approaches to the same problem to give a new solution.

      The philosophy behind applying this technique is that sometimes things that we feel have nothing in common together end up being the source of something truly revolutionary and successful.

      This technique can be applied both individually and in groups, although the ideal is to bring together people with very different knowledge. The greater the diversity of expertise, the more possibilities there are to combine ideas from very different fields.

      An example of this is the very story of roll-on deodorants. The one who invented it was inspired by the mechanism of operation of the pens, the inventor was based, in turn, on the way in which the balloons trace their trajectory in the wet sand. Who would have thought that a bullet would be behind the creation of such a widely used hygiene product?

      9. What if …?

      Imagining hypothetical worlds through something as simple as a conditional sentence has created great business successes. Question the current status of a particular product or service i wondering what would happen if something was changed or added is a powerful way to create all kinds of new inventions.

      The technique of “What if …?” it helps to see, from a different perspective, the problem you want to solve or create. To pose the most original changes in something that already exists can be the beginning of a great technological innovation, a change in gastronomy or in the world of fashion. There are many things that seemed absurd at first and which, thanks to a courageous man, are our daily bread today.

      An example of this is any product that carries a stick. At one point in the story, someone wondered, “What if I put a stick in the candy?” and oualà: we have the Chupachups. Another, with a similar idea, said “What if you photograph a stick on a rag?” And thanks to that, we have the scouring stick. And someone, who really became a visionary for his time, thought to himself, “What if I put a camera on his cell phone?” And the rest is history.

      10. Possible vs. impossible

      It is a very classic but effective idea generation technique, because it allows you to see the big picture of the problem, to be aware of what is good and what is bad and, thus, to direct the form in the way to treat the thematic or to direct the project.

      Two columns are drawn, putting in one what is possible what can be done and what is impossible. After going through all the possible scenarios and what you don’t think can be achieved in any way, you can see if, really, if what we think is impossible is in fact something impossible or not. Thus, it is possible to choose ideas which, while they might have been forcibly rejected at one point, can now be seen as something which, to prove it, loses nothing.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Aagaard, A. and Gertsen, F. (2011). Supporting Radical Front-End Innovation: Perceived Key Factors of Pharmaceutical Innovation. Managing Creativity and Innovation, 20 (4), 330-346.
      • Adams, R., Bessant, J. and Phelps, R. (2006). Measuring innovation management: a review. International Journal of Management Reviews, 8 (1), 21-47.
      • Alencar, EMS (1993). Thinking about the future: the need to promote creativity in the educational context. Gifted Education International, 9 (2), 93-96
      • Barbieri, JC, Álvares, ACT and Cajazeira, JER (2009). Idea management for continuous innovation. Porto Alegre: Bookman.

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