There are countless ways to come up with fresh new ideas. In fact, often times whenever we ask famous artists and writers how they keep creating great ideas, we discover that many of them have actually devised their own methods for coming up with them.
Developing your own idea creation method should really be the ultimate goal for all of us. For most people, the method they end up using is an amalgam of all the other methods that they tried. So they end taking a little bit of this and that and modifying it for their own needs.
Idea Creation Methods
Structured Exercises – This is actually a shorter more condensed version of the brainstorming method described in a previous lesson. The way this works is you choose a random topic and then commit to coming up with a specific number of ideas around that topic. It is recommended that you do not stop until you have 40-50 ideas listed. It’s a good idea to repeat this several times in one sitting.
Start from the End – Imagine yourself in the future after you have already created the idea you are seeking today. While looking through the eyes of that future you in your mind, trying looking back to the present and start listing what that great idea might have been – and the steps it took to get there.
Bad Ideas – Purposely come up with a list of the absolutely worst ideas you can think of. Now try to invert those bad ideas into good ideas. In other words, write the complete opposite of those bad ideas.
Two Word Connections – Using a couple of random word generators (you can find them online), crank out two random words and then connect them. Now list out all as many ideas as you can that pertains to those two words. Try doing several of these in one session.
Borrow a Friend’s Mind – Think of someone you know fairly well. Now start generating a list of ideas that you think they might suggest – based on what you know about them.
Borrow a Famous Mind – Think of someone famous that you admire. Now try listing ideas that you believe that famous person would list – based on how you perceive them.
Pick a Random Stranger – After selecting a stranger somewhere, try inventing a history for them. See how outrageous you can make their story.
Watch Two People Converse – Now invent a creative dialog that they might be having between themselves. See how juicy of a tale you can spin.
The thing we have to understand about creating ideas and using these methods is that most of the stuff you generate will be useless. You are doing this in order to find those two or three great thoughts that are game changers.
You have to be willing to sift through lots of bad ideas to find the great ones. So keep this in mind as you use these methods.