3 techniques to generate new ideas and boost creativity

Written by Ignacio O'Mullony: Web designer.
· 4 minute read

 

Lacking some creativity? Finding it hard to generate new ideas? Sometimes we just get stuck in a rut and the best thing to do is shake up our routine and try some new techniques. Here are 3 ways to get the ideas flowing that you might not have tried before.

Brainstorming

The classic. However, the potential of this technique is often undermined as it is not done properly.

Never have more than four people in a brainstorming session, otherwise it can be endless and unproductive.

Every session should have a first moment where ideas just flow. To achieve a state of pure creativity all the participants should be relaxed and comfortable enough to say whatever crosses their minds. Therefore any critic, joke or comment against any thought at this stage should stay out of the room.

After writing down all the ideas generated on the first part of the session, the second one is the moment to critique. Going down the list of ideas justifying why we think some could work and why some couldn’t will help us to improve, combine and enhance the ones which pass the filter.

Ideas association

What’s the relation between a glass of water and a frog? And between a coat and a giraffe? There’s no right or wrong answer, as long as you can explain your reasoning. Take the most random elements – there’s always a way to connect them. For example, you can put a frog in a glass of water to transport it somewhere, build a shelter with the glass for the frog to live in it or even break the glass to get something sharp to dissect it. You can hang a coat in the ‘horns’ of the giraffe, have a coat with fabric following the pattern of the giraffe’s skin, or you can put a coat on a giraffe to take it to a cold place. Would you? Maybe not. But you could.

Now imagine one of those two elements is your business, a product you want to promote or a new set of ideas for your blog. Ask someone for the first object they can think of and try to find the connection. If there’s nobody around, open a dictionary on a random page and pick the first word you can see. Thinking for a bit about how your product or original ideas can be connected with unexpected elements will give you a fresh, new perspective.

 

The best scenario

In an ideal world, a lot of things will be different, but as we don’t live in an ideal world we have to adapt ourselves to the resources we have. However, describing exactly what we would like to have for our campaign or how our project should be if we had all the budget we would like helps to visualise where we want to go and how we can scale it to our limitations.

Let’s imagine we run a train company. We want to improve our traveler’s experience, and based on surveys we know that the thing they value the most is speed and arriving promptly. So in the best scenario, our trains would be faster and arrive to their destination as soon as possible. Maybe investing in the tracks is already in our projects list, but what can we do in the meantime? Well, we cannot make the trains faster in the short term  but there might be something we could do for our passengers to feel like the journey is shorter. Screens on each seat with movies, free wi-fi or even board games available on demand, for example.

 

You can use these methods in all aspects of your work; whether it’s brand strategy, content marketing or digital advertising. Give it a go and see what you come up with!