10 Recommended Idea Generation Techniques

Recommended idea generation techniques

It happens to everyone that, in the process of developing a project or important work, we get stuck. The ideas don’t flow, we don’t find solutions, we don’t know what to do and frustration invades us.

Fortunately, there are a lot of tools to make creativity sprout and we can offer all kinds of innovative ideas to the problems we have to face.

Below we will see several idea generation techniquesapplicable both when alone and working in a team, applicable in any context and without the need for too many resources.

Idea Generation Techniques You Should Try

There are many techniques to make ideas emerge. Before using them, you should not believe that creativity and imagination is a gift, that you either have or you don’t have. That’s a myth.

Really, Everyone is creative, to a greater or lesser extent and in their own way and, like any skill, it can be put into practice.. It’s just a matter of training, like someone who studies algebra to pass the math exam or someone who runs to win the marathon. Whatever level you start from, there is always the option to improve.

However, it must be taken into account that imagination, what is said to come alone, does not come. The muses have a predilection for those who rack their brains, reciting their beautiful songs in the form of innovative ideas in their ears. It is very important that for creativity to come one makes an effort, dedicating time to generating ideas. To paraphrase Pablo Picasso, if imagination has to come to us, let it catch us working.

Below we will see 10 very useful idea generation techniques, applicable to endless contexts and situations, which can be put into practice both in groups and individually.

1. Brainstorming

Brainstorming, also known as brainstorming, is the best-known idea generation technique. It is usually used when you want to have many ideas in a short time, reaching more than 100 ideas per hour in a good session..

When this technique is used, it is about motivating all the members of the group to give their ideas, no matter how absurd they may seem and even if they do so in a poorly systematized way.

Once we have several ideas, they are analyzed, then filtered and, if there are some that are appropriate or really useful, they are accepted and the project or work in question begins to be shaped.

Although it is especially suitable for group work, it can also be carried out individually. Its use in a group is especially advantageous, since helps strengthen collaboration between membersinvites us to be tolerant of different points of view and contributes to a greater vision of openness towards new things.

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2. Mind maps

Mind maps are idea generation techniques that are displayed graphically. Its about use a key word or concept as a starting point to later add ideas in the form of tree branches or radial structure.

These tools do not need to follow a pre-established design or a marked guideline, although it is advisable to put the key word or idea in the center and add, radially, the rest of the branches and sub-branches. This way you will avoid having a chaotic network of lines that will make it difficult to interpret.

One piece of advice when making mind maps is that, although they can be done in writing with paper and pen, it is a good idea to consider creating them with larger tools, such as whiteboards, or directly relying on digital support. Furthermore, if you can use colors, symbols and drawings, much better.

This technique is really useful when you want to solve complex problems.in which it is necessary to develop several ideas, try to describe them in greater depth and present them visually for better understanding.

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

First, we choose the place where we are going to work, be it a large canvas of paper, a large whiteboard or a special digital support for this type of techniques (e.g. GoConqr, MindMeister, Litpen…)

Once this step has been completed, we start in the center, putting the keyword, the idea or the problem to be solved. From this point we add all the ideas that come to mind, but that are minimally related to the topic discussed.

Once several ideas have been chosen, they can be associated, to the extent possible and depending on whether they have something to do with each other.. They branch and connect, lines are drawn and ideas are associated with images or words.

3. SCAMPER method

The SCAMPER method is a creative technique that favors the generation of ideas by answering a pre-established list of several questions to answer and carry out. These questions are related to the following seven aspects:

With this technique, something that is already known is proposed, an existing product or a way of acting that, although it has worked other times, this time does not give all the results we would like. With this technique the aim is to turn the idea around, improve itapproaching the problem from several new perspectives, forcing the team’s minds to work from a wide range of different possibilities.

4. Future memory

A very good way to make an idea materialize, or know if it is good or not, is visualizing it as if we had already carried it out. These ideas, at first, may seem absurd, but we will never know if they are a good idea or not if we do not even dare to imagine what would happen if we had already put them into practice.

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The future memory technique helps to visualize the main mission, the purpose that gives meaning to the existence of the project or the completion of the work. In addition, it allows prioritizing the fundamental values ​​by which this project, be it a group project in a company or an institute project, follows its course.

He Being clear about where you want to be and considering, visually, how to get there is a way to accelerate the process of obtaining the proposed goal.since something that has not yet been accomplished is seen as something plausible, motivating the group to get down to it, in addition to encouraging their creativity.

5. Brainwriting

“Brainwriting” is a variant of brainstorming, but in which the members of the group are even more involved. It consists of the classmates each writing their ideas on a sheet of paper. Then, after a while, the pages are turned and, based on what the classmates have been putting, give impressions about those ideasadding new ones or making some notes.

This idea generation technique, in addition to being quite dynamic, allows us to avoid the barrier of shame and shyness, without damaging creativity. When passing the pages to each other, the classmates simply have to read what the others have said and put in what comes to mind.

This way there is no one who is “afraid” of saying something “bullshit”, given that, as long as they are not recognized by the lyrics, each idea maintains its anonymity.

6. Storyboard

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

It consists of creating, on a sheet of paper, a poster, a blackboard or whatever medium is available, a cartoon in which each vignette is a certain action or an important point of the project. The ideas are presented in a schematic and sequential manner, allowing a general idea of ​​how the topic to be discussed will develop.

7. The 6 hats

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

This technique It should be developed in a group, making each participant contribute ideas and collaborate in the process from a different point of view.in a very similar way to what is done in brainstorming.

Observing the same problem from different perspectives leads to a richer result during the debate, allowing the capabilities of all group members to be taken advantage of. This technique is ideal for guiding discussions, as well as preventing participants from diverting their attention to their own discussion.

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8. Related worlds

The technique of related worlds is a tool that allows you to create by combining two radically different ideas (two worlds). That is to say, involves applying different approaches to the same problem to provide a novel solution.

The philosophy behind the application of this technique is that, sometimes, things that seem to us to have nothing in common, together, end up being the source of something truly groundbreaking and successful.

This technique can be applied both individually and in a group, although The ideal is to bring together people with very different knowledge. The greater the diversity of expert knowledge, the greater the possibilities for crossing ideas from very different fields.

An example of this is the history of “roll-on” deodorants. Whoever invented it was inspired by the operating mechanism of ballpoint pens, whose inventor was based, in turn, on the way soccer balls trace their trajectory in wet sand. Who knew that a balloon 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 been what has allowed the creation of great commercial successes. Questioning the current situation of a certain product or service and Asking what would happen if something were changed or added is a powerful way to create all kinds of new inventions..

The “What if…” technique It helps to see, from a different perspective, the problem you want to solve or create. Considering the most original changes to 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 at first seemed absurd that, thanks to a brave man, today are our daily bread.

An example of this is any product that has a stick. At some point in history someone asked themselves, “What if I put a stick in the candy?” and oualà: we have the Chupachups. Another, with a similar idea, said, “What if I put a stick in a rag?” And thanks to that we have the mop. And someone, who truly became a visionary for his time, said, “What if I put a camera on my mobile phone?” And the rest is history.

10. Possible vs. Impossible

It is a very classic idea generation technique, but effective, since allows you to have an overview of the problem, to be aware of the good and the bad and, thus, direct the way in which the topic is treated or the project is directed.

Two columns are drawn, putting in one what is possible that can be done and what is impossible. After seeing all the possible scenarios and what is not believed to be possible in any way, we can see if, really, if what we believe is impossible is, in reality, something unfeasible or not. This way it is possible to choose ideas that, although at one time they could have been categorically discarded, can now be seen as something that, by trying it, nothing is lost.