The spark of new ideas

change mindset women only Dec 26, 2020

The pressure to come up with ideas can be overwhelming.

Constant content creation seems to be a requisite of the workplace these days. There's a demand from your boss to find new ways to improve the workplace, you want your latest project to be more than just the same old, same old, as a leader you want to find new ways to help your team work better together.

Can you create a mental spark of new ideas as simply as you see a spark when you touch two wires together? The answer is - you can. 

The first thing you need to do is quit thinking of ideas as things that just happen. 

One of my favorite new ways of working is using Design Thinking, and one of the phases of Design Thinking is Ideation. 

You've heard of brainstorming, right? Ideation is similar. It’s a situation where people decide to cognitively generate ideas. They make the decision that they will create ideas within a quick timeframe - not that they will sit around the office for days, weeks or months waiting on some mysterious Muse to appear and give them a sign. 

How do we ideate effectively? 

There are many ways, and today we will touch on just a few. 

First, write down all known facts and assumptions about the subject at hand. Then for each fact or assumption, ask "what if...?" Take the opposing view in your question. 

"What if something else could create the same result?" 

"What if we didn't have a specific resource, then how would we create this?" 

"What if everyone called in sick one day, then how would we minimize the damage?" 

"What if I had only 10 minutes to do this - is there a template I could use over and over again to speed things up?" 

Always challenge assumptions. 

Strip things away 

Often, we get caught up in finding new ideas to add to the existing processes we have in place. But it's as valid to think about cutting away ideas as it is creating new ones. You might have two different products in mind to create, and two different websites to market them through. But by focusing on cutting out ideas you may discover that there is a core group who require both products - and then build just one website aimed at that core group. 

Ideas that take away work are sometimes more beneficial than those that do. 

Use different discovery tools 

Many people swear by mind maps. Some prefer a word processor document - and others prefer spreadsheets. Get away from your comfort level by using a different medium to dump your ideas out into. The process will feel different and make your brain respond differently - and often more creatively.

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