The effectiveness of a new product and sustainable growth of an organisation partly depends on your creativity. Despite its vital role, most companies don’t pay enough attention to the idea generation phase of their development programs. Without ideas or insights, there is not much to execute. Given the critical role of execution in learning, the ideation process is essential for making positive improvements that support sustainable organisational growth.
It’s obvious that you find it challenging to come up with new, high-quality concepts. After all, it is not unusual to get stuck in your routine when you’re supposed to exercise your creativity. This article focuses on the idea generation concept and the successful ideation methods to help you break out of that rut.
What is idea generation?
Also referred to as ideation, idea generation is the creative process that an organisation uses to figure out solutions to specific challenges. It involves generating, developing, and communicating new concepts or thoughts. Proper ideation sets a solid foundation for your innovation strategy.
Having great ideas alone cannot make any innovation happen. For this reason, you need to create a systematic process for gathering and managing those ideas. The point of idea generation extends beyond gathering tons of ideas. You must also pay attention to the relevance and quality of those ideas.
Importance of ideation
Think of idea generation as the front part of your organisation’s idea management funnel. It is a ‘phase’ that focuses on creating possible solutions to the actual or perceived challenges and uncovering the related opportunities. Indeed, ideas are the initial step towards making the right adjustments. That means your business progress depends on the nature of the ideas you have.
The ability to generate, collect, and analyse new ideas from various sources is the best way to uncover creative, valuable knowledge. Information is essential to keep your brand relevant and make considerable changes to foster sustainable company growth.
Suppose you want to improve your marketing team’s efficiency or make your products better. Where do you start? Your guess is good – idea generation. So, no matter the nature of your business, goals, or business model, the purpose of every new idea is to improve your operations.
On a larger scale, international organisations and economies depend on innovation to drive sustainable growth. Great ideas drive innovation, which in turn creates models and technologies that ensure sustainable growth in an organisation. Sure, innovation is not all about ideas alone. But they play a key role in the sustainable growth equation.
Improve employee engagement
Improve productivity and retain talent by engaging your employees in ideation today!
You no longer need to be artistic to exercise your creativity. You can learn to generate ground-breaking ideas by applying ideation methods and adopting a creative approach. Here are 3 key ideation methods.
1. Break old thinking habits
Perhaps you are stuck in some ‘tracks’ of thoughts. Your way of thinking maybe so comfortable that you don’t realise that they are holding you back. It’s time to break away from your patterns of thoughts and begin looking for new paths. Here are effective to change the way you think.
The chances are that you bring a set of assumptions to every situation. While most of them may be true, challenging these preconceptions can open up more exciting possibilities.
Suppose you plan to extend your home office. It is a good investment, but you may not be ready to pursue the idea just because you assume that you cannot afford it. Just challenge that perception. You probably don’t have money in the bank, but you can still sell other assets that you no longer need and raise enough money for your project. Or you can take out a loan and work overtime to pay it in a few months.
Rephrase the problem you are trying to solve
Your definition of framing of a problem might be limiting your creativity. Perhaps if you can describe the same issue in a different way or analyse it from a different angle, new insights or solutions can emerge.
Garrett Camp, the founder of Uber, wanted to launch transportation services. He had the option to buy and manage a fleet of vehicles to make profits. But he reframed this problem in terms of passengers’ convenience and how best he could address their needs. That’s how a powerful app (innovative business) was born instead of a fleet of cars.
2. Establish new relationships
Another effective ideation method is to make new and unexpected relationships. Some of the ground-breaking ideas seem to occur by chance – you hear or see something entirely unconnected with the situation you are handling, and you get this bright idea! For example, George De Mestral’s Velcro was inspired by a burdock burrs that got stuck in his pet’s fur during a walk.
3. Find a fresh perspective
Add extra dynamism to your thoughts by taking a step back from your normal standpoint and analyse a specific issue through ‘fresh eyes.’ You might get a new surprising tech on a problem you have been battling.
It’s also recommended to talk to someone with a different perspective, perhaps due to their life experience, age, and educational or cultural background. Consider how the individual you have chosen will approach the problem and find out if it gives you any new insights. Figure out that person’s distinguishing characteristics, and in the future, use such a unique approach to address other challenges.
No matter how creative you are, the chances are that you still experience creativity drought. You already know that feeling when you can’t figure out something. Now you know the right way out of that hole.