3 of My Favourite Idea Generation Techniques

Here’s 3 foolproof creative exercises you can turn to when you’re looking to inject a bit more lateral thinking into your workshop and kick-start some new ideas

1. Random Words

One of the simplest and most most effective techniques. This is how it works.

1. Pick out a random word from a bag. I tend to use those magnetic words you can buy to create poems for fridges

2. Write down all the associations you have with that word

3 Use these associations to generate some new ideas i.e. they become the springboard for some lateral leaps

It works because of it’s random nature – it stimulates your mind in new and interesting ways. It’s also really quick to do and can take you into some new and unpredictable directions.


2. Rule Breaking

If you’re looking for radical / breakthrough ideas, then this is a great technique to use

1. Write down all the beliefs / assumptions / conventions that surround the problem you’ve been dealing

2. Come up with some new ideas that break or challenge these ‘rules’

It’s great because it’s really simple to do, uses no props and encourages people to generate some challenging ideas. It can also be quite amusing and liberating as people often generate ludicrous, outrageous or immoral ideas – which can often act as a bridge to a truly great idea.

3. Corporate Takeover

This is a very ‘safe’ exercise to undertake in that everyone finds it easy to do, even if they’re unfamiliar with creative workshops and you always get some great ideas. This is how it works.

1. In teams ask people to select a brand they admire. Alternatively, you could simply allocate the team an interesting brand that you’ve pre-selected

2. Ask people to bring the brand to life – what it’s famous for, it’s values, it’s personality, etc

3. Finally imagine that your company has been taken over by this brand. How would they solve the problem / come up with new ideas

It’s great because there is quite a short lateral leap required to come up with new ideas, people love talking about other brands and it helps release them from their own corporate shackles

There are many more idea generation techniques I could talk about, but when I’m facilitating creative workshops, I often use at least one of these. Why not give them a go!


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