Home > Idea Spread, You in B&W > Learning to be a Better Idea Generator – Anybody Can?

Learning to be a Better Idea Generator – Anybody Can?


Found a great blog from The Creative Leadership Center via a RT from someone I follow. One post breaks down how Anybody Can Learn to Become A Better Idea Generator.

Let’s walk through and consider each of the four steps:

Improving knowledge improves results

“…creating ideas means that a person processes memorized information and combines it in new ways.”  The more knowledge you have, the more facets / angles you can leverage to recombine and connect other things to in order to create new ideas.

Quantity improves quality

I took a Break-Through Strategic Planning course a few years back and the facilitator took us through this exercise where we started to write down everything we could think of in the topic of “weapon”.  She gave us lots of times to do this and what we found was the items we listed later in the activity were the most interesting and creative.  The longer we participated in this activity, the better we were able to migrate from left-brain thinking to right-brain / creative thinking. The following image depicts this transition from left (blue) brain thinking to right (green). The vertical represents time.

Since first being exposed to this activity, I’ve used it as a way to unlock creativity in a group that needs to really thinking differently about a topic.  I usually use “tools” as a topic since “weapons” might be offensive to some.

Studying idea-creation methods pays back

Yes, techniques are important, just like the one I shared above.  Which ones do you know and use?

On the point about creating prototypes, in my own thoughts about approach to ideation, I’ve gone on to think about once again using mind-mapping tools to help organize and facilitate ideation.  Partly because connecting is a big part of the way I go about idea-creation.  Not only would it possible foster additional thoughts, but would also provide a tangible tool for sharing the process with others or recalling the journey to an eventual idea.

One has to tolerate uncertainty

People with an ideation strength or who like to engage in idea-creation / brainstorming, etc. are more naturally tolerant of the uncertainty that this process induces.  I’ve worked with futurists and other strength-types whose minds immediately dive to a future state and work backwards and this kind of activity really drives them crazy.  I don’t believe that just because something isn’t your strength that you shouldn’t be involved in it (because you really have something valuable to contribute). I do believe that we should seek people who really enjoy and are great at doing this to involve in our process.  Draw on the strengths of people and be sensitive to the fact that just because we enjoy it doesn’t mean everybody does and it can be extremely uncomfortable for others.  If one must be able to tolerate uncertainty, then no wonder people with a futurists talent theme tend not to enjoy this!

Interesting, not all that eye-opening, but helpful to consider purposeful ways to improve idea-generation capability.  I subscribe to the philosophy that time spent developing your areas of talent / strength is time much better spent than just developing your weaknesses.  It may just be better to recognize the value of certain activities and engage people with strengths to bolster your own weaknesses.

Categories: Idea Spread, You in B&W Tags: ,
  1. March 25, 2010 at 5:01 am

    Just saw a relevant post by my friend Mike Stoecklein regarding innovation (http://tinyurl.com/yzyftwr). His points on the following are especially relevant:

    – Create an atmosphere.
    – Set flexible deadlines.
    – Celebrate mistakes.
    – Collaborate with the competition.

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