How many ideas are enough to solve a business problem?
Today a new learning event “StartupLithuania Summer Academy” organized the first session for young startupers and futurpreneurs. It started with a great introductory track about idea generation, held by Eigirdas Žemaitis.
No surprise that brainstorming seems to be a limited process ending up with a decent amount of new ideas. What is a decent amount for you? 10? 50? How about 300? Apparently brilliant ideas, like all the best things in life, only come when you don’t expect them. All the first 50 ideas that come into your mind are usually those which come to everyone’s mind, so nothing unique can be found in the first round of brainstorming. It is highly recommended to force yourself to think of 300 ideas to reach the level of powerful thinking.
How does one create hundreds of new ideas?
To stimulate your creativity you have to follow some simple steps. There are various methods helping to prompt creative thinking. One of them is visual thinking – try to draw the problem you are solving to get your mind working on finding a solution. It is a tool that helps you look at the problem from a wider perspective. Also, don’t stop looking for inspirations (for example at Google Patents – a pool of endless powerful and not so ideas), start numerating your ideas so that you actually know how much efforts you have invested so far, do a warm up for your mind before you start actively thinking, make sure you are in a good physical shape (300 ideas won’t come easy in a tired mind and body).
Markets are saturated with similar or even identical products, so try not to stick to the mass. Find your unique ideas using a creative process based on idea generation, called design thinking. It is a mindset that encourages to create a more desirable future. Design thinking combines technology as an opportunity to innovate, business as a necessity for vitality and
values as needs and benefits coming out of ideas. It may help you not only identify the problems but as well find meaningful solutions through myriad ideas.
Trust the process as you go
The idea itself is not worth anything if it’s not implemented and validated. Idea generation and decision making should be absolutely separated processes. Before you select the ideas and make final decisions follow the process below:
- Define ideas
- Make a research
- Create a solution
- Build the prototype
- Choose what is working
- Implement the solution
- Get the feedback and learn
Usually people are too lazy to invest their time into idea generation but once they come out of the box and clear the mind of standard thinking, they may start the selection process. It works out best when you revisit the initial goal, step back from emotional attachment and the authorship of ideas and, finally, understand that practical ideas are not always the best choice. That’s the point when you start noticing powerful ideas.
Always focus on a problem you’re solving. Have a clear target of how many ideas you are going to generate. Follow the process and once the circle is closed, get back to where you started and verify if your solution was implemented successfully and met the initial goal. And remember that powerful ideas show up when the stereotype thinking is demolished.