10 recommended idea generation techniques
These are some techniques to help you get ideas in your head and use them creatively.
It happens to everyone that, while working on a project or an important job, we get stuck. The ideas do not flow, we do not find solutions, we do not 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 look at several techniques for generating ideasThe following are several techniques for generating ideas, applicable both 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 sprout. Before using them, you should not believe that creativity and imagination is a gift, that you either have it or you don't. That is a myth. That is a myth.
In fact, everyone is creative, to a greater or lesser extent and in their own way, 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, one must keep in mind that imagination, what is said to come alone, does not come. The muses have a predilection for those who rack their brains, reciting to their ears their beautiful songs in the form of innovative ideas. It is very important that in order for creativity to come, one must make an effort, dedicating time to the generation of ideas. To paraphrase Pablo Picasso, if the imagination has to come to us, let it catch us working.
The following are 10 very useful idea generation techniques, applicable to a Wide range of contexts and situations, which can be put into practice both in groups and individually.
Brainstorming, also known as brainstorming, is the best known brainstorming technique. It is usually used when you want to have a lot of ideas in a short time, reaching more than 100 ideas per hour in a good session..
When this technique is used, the aim is to motivate all the members of the group to give their ideas, no matter how absurd they may seem and even if they do it in a not very systematized way.
Once several ideas have been had, they are analyzed, then filtered and, if there are some that are suitable or really useful, they are accepted and the project or work in question begins to take shape.
Although it is particularly suitable for group work, it can also be carried out individually. Its use in a group is especially advantageous, since it helps to reinforce collaboration among membersIt invites tolerance for different points of view and contributes to a greater openness to new things.
2. Mind maps
Mind maps are techniques for generating ideas that are displayed graphically. They consist of using a key word or concept as a starting point and then adding ideas to it in the form of tree branches or a radial structure..
These tools do not need to follow a pre-established design or a marked pattern, although it is advisable to place the key word or idea in the center and add the rest of the branches and sub-branches radially. This will avoid having a chaotic web of lines that will make it difficult to interpret.
A tip when making mind maps is that, although they can be made in written form with paper and pen, it is a good idea to consider making them with larger tools, such as whiteboards or, directly, using a digital support. Moreover, if you can use colors, symbols and drawings, so much the better.
This technique is really useful when you are trying to solve complex problemsThis technique is really useful when trying to solve complex problems, in which it is necessary to elaborate several ideas, try to describe them in greater depth and present them in a visual form 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 paper canvas, a large blackboard or a special digital support for this type of techniques (e.g., GoConqr, MindMeister, Litpen...).
Once this step is over, we start at the center, putting the key word, the idea or the problem to be solved. From this point on, we add all the ideas that we can think of, but which are minimally related to the subject matter.
Once several ideas have been chosen, they can be associated, as far as possible and depending on whether they have something to do with the subject matter or not.. They are branched and connected, 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. to be answered and carried out. These questions are related to the following seven aspects:
- Substitute: What can we substitute? What happens if we substitute the process...?
- Combine: What would happen if we combine this with that?
- Adapt: How can we adapt the product/service to...?
- Modify: What can be modified to better organize...?
- Put to other uses: How can the product be used in other contexts?
- Eliminate: What can be eliminated to simplify the product/service/project?
- Reorder: What happens if we change the structure of the service/project...?
With this technique, we propose something that is already known, an existing product or a way of acting that, although it has worked in the past, this time it does not give all the results we would like. With this technique we try to turn the idea around, to improve it, approaching the problem from several perspectives.This technique is intended to turn the idea around, to improve it, approaching the problem from several new perspectives, forcing the minds of the team to work from a wide range of different possibilities.
4. Future memory
A very good way to make an idea materialize, or to know if it is good or not, is by visualizing it as if we had already carried it out.. These ideas may seem absurd at first, but we will never know whether 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.
The future memory technique helps to visualize the main mission, the purpose that gives meaning to the existence of the project or the realization of the work. In addition, it allows us to prioritize the fundamental values for which this project, whether it is a group project in a company or a school project, will continue its course.
The having a clear idea of where you want to be and setting out, in a visual way, how to get there, is a way of speeding up the process of achieving the proposed goal, given that you visualize something that you have not yet achieved.It is a way of visualizing something that has not yet been accomplished as something plausible, motivating the group to get down to it, as well as encouraging their creativity.
Brainwriting" is a variant of brainstorming, but in which the members of the group are even more involved. It consists of colleagues writing down their ideas on a sheet of paper. Then, after a while, the sheets of paper are passed around and, based on what the colleagues have written, the ideas are discussed, from what the companions have been putting, to put impressions on these ideas, adding new ones or making some notes.The group can add new ideas or make notes on them.
This technique of generating ideas, besides being quite dynamic, allows to avoid the barrier of embarrassment and shyness, without damaging creativity. By passing the sheets of paper to each other, the partners simply have to read what the others have said and put in whatever comes to mind.
This way no one is "afraid" to say something "stupid", since, as long as they are not recognized by the handwriting, each idea maintains its anonymity.
The graphic script or "storyboard" is a technique widely used in graphic professions, such as the creation of animated series, cinema and comics, although it can also be used when elaborating the intervention plan or how to proceed with a certain project.
It consists of elaborating, on a sheet of paper, a poster, a blackboard or whatever medium is available, a cartoon in which each cartoon is a certain action or an important point of the project. The ideas are presented in a schematic and sequential way, allowing to have a general idea of how the topic to be dealt with is going to be developed.
7. The 6 hats
The technique of the 6 hats is widely known in the field of psychology of thought. The six hats symbolize different points of view from which a problem or a concrete situation can be analyzed.. When we put on a hat of a certain color, our perspective should change according to the following:
- White: focus on the data available, look at the information you have.
- Red: look at problems using intuition and emotions.
- Black: use judgment and caution, highlight the negative aspects of the problem.
- Yellow: think positively.
- Green: be creative, applying various idea generation techniques.
- Blue: control and manage the thought process. Summarize what has been said and reach conclusions.
This technique should be developed in a group, with each participant contributing ideas and collaborating in the process from a different point of view, in much the same way as it is done in a group.This technique should be developed in a group, in a very similar way to brainstorming.
Looking at the same problem from different perspectives makes for a richer outcome during the discussion, allowing you to leverage the skills of all group members. This technique is ideal for guiding discussions, in addition to preventing participants from diverting their attention by focusing on their own discussion.
8. Related worlds
The technique of related worlds is a tool that allows to create by combining two radically different ideas (two worlds). That is to say, it 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 ideally, it is best to bring together ideally, it is best to bring together people with very different backgrounds.. The greater the diversity of expertise, the more possibilities there are for cross-fertilization of ideas from very different fields.
An example of this is the history of roll-on deodorants. The inventor was inspired by the working mechanism of ballpoint pens, whose inventor in turn was based on the way soccer balls trace their trajectory in wet sand. Who would have thought that a ball would be behind the creation of such a widely used hygiene product?
9. What if...?
Imagining hypothetical worlds by means of something as simple as a sentence in conditional has been what has allowed the creation of great commercial successes. By questioning the current situation of a certain product or service and asking what would happen if it were what would happen if something were changed or added to it is a powerful way to create all kinds of new inventions..
The "What if?" technique helps to see, from a different perspective, the problem to be solved or to create it. By considering the most original changes in something that already exists, it 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 person, today are our daily bread.
An example of this is any product that carries a stick. At some point in history someone asked "What if I put a stick in 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 to himself "What if I put a camera on the cell phone?" and the rest is history.
10. Possible vs. Impossible
It is a very classic but effective idea generation technique, since it allows to have an overview of the problem, to be aware of the good and the bad. it allows to have a general vision of the problem, to be aware of the good and the bad, and thus and, thus, to direct the way in how to deal with the subject or direct the project.
Two columns are drawn, putting in one what is possible to do and what is impossible. After looking at all the possible scenarios and what you do not think can be carried out in any way, you can see if what you think is impossible is, in fact, something unfeasible or not. In this way it is possible to choose ideas that, although at one time could have been ruled out outright, can now be seen as something that, by trying it, nothing is lost.
- Aagaard, A., and Gertsen, F. (2011). Supporting radical front end innovation: perceived key factors of pharmaceutical innovation. Creativity & Innovation Management, 20(4), 330-346.
- Adams, R., Bessant, J. y Phelps, R. (2006). Innovation management measurement: A review. International Journal of Management Reviews, 8(1), 21-47.
- Alencar, E. M. S. (1993). Thinking in the future: The need to promote creativity in the educational context. Gifted Education International, 9(2), 93-96
- Barbieri, J. C., Álvares, A. C. T. y Cajazeira, J. E. R. (2009). Gestão de ideias para inovação contínua. Porto Alegre: Bookman.
(Updated at Mar 28 / 2023)