As a motivational speaker on creativity and innovation, I stumbled across an idea that is guaranteed to increase the odds that you can very creatively solve your challenges and stand out from your competition. And it's this:
If you want to come up with a GREAT idea – then get LOTS of ideas first; good ones, bad ones and very ugly ones.
A while back I had asked my assistant if she would come up with an idea for a new marketing piece. She said yes, but every time I asked her how it was going she replied, "I just can't think of a good idea."
Finally I remembered how to overcome this and I said, "Okay. Then here's what I need you to do. It's 1 p.m. now. By 3 p.m. please give me ten ideas for the piece."
She looked at me like I'd lost my mind, but I just laughed and told her that I wasn't kidding. Again I said, "Ten ideas by 3 p.m. Put everything else aside."
Cut to 3:00 p.m. when she handed me not ten, but twelve ideas. Not fully formed, drawn out ideas, but ideas, nevertheless. Were they all great? Oh nooooooo. In fact some of them were pretty ridiculous, But a couple of them were really cool and one of them we actually went with.
The problem is that when we work in our heads, we quickly dismiss ideas because they are not the one PERFECT or RIGHT idea. But when you start putting ideas down on paper, and have a limited amount of time to find a solution, your ideas start to build on each other. A STUPID idea might make you think of a SILLY idea, that makes you think of an INTERESTING idea that makes you think of a GREAT idea.
So. Want to get a great idea? Then crank 'em out!