Our Ten Best Idea Generation Techniques

Monday, June 13, 2022

Looking for new ways to generate better ideas with your team, or new ways to get them to think more creatively?  This blog covers some of our favourite techniques.  They are really simple but prepare them in advance and be prepared to be flexible.....if one technique doesn't work, try another.  However, we suggest that you take time to prepare techniques that are most relevant to the objective of your brainstorming meeting.  To see some of the tools in action, take a look at a short video from our creative facilitation training course.

1. FOCUS ON SPECIFIC INSIGHTS

Get small teams of 2 or 3, to generate new ideas inspired by specific insights, issues or pain points. Richer and deeper insights normally produce more compelling ideas. It is therefore essential that insights are well defined BEFORE starting idea generation. Split into small teams and ask each team to focus on 5 or 6 different insights. Spend 10-15 minutes on each insight and look for 2-3 ideas per insight.

2. CELEBRITY ROLE PLAY

A fun and simple technique to encourage teams to "free their minds" and brainstorm new ideas from the perspective of a "famous person" but linked to the Project Objectives. Prepare 10-15 names of "famous or alternative people" who might be inspiring and relevant. For 10-15 minutes, give 1 or 2 names to each small team and ask them to generate 1 or 2 new ideas inspired by each name.

3. ANIMAL MAGIC IDEAS

Another fun technique to encourage teams to "free their minds" and brainstorm new ideas from the perspective and character of different animals, but linked to the Project Objectives. Prepare 10-15 names of different animals that might be inspiring and relevant. For 10-15 minutes, give 1 or 2 animals to each small team and ask them to generate 1 or 2 new ideas inspired by each animal.

4. STORY TIME ANALOGIES

Ask small teams to generate new ideas by thinking out of the box and looking at analogies from other sectors. Give each team a different "story" to tell e.g. about the successful school, award winning hotel, leading airline. Ask teams to brainstorm the specific things that their "story" might have done to be successful, and to then see if any of these ideas could be relevant for your own Project.

5. REALLY BAD IDEAS

A fun 2-part exercise that is also a good warm-up game for idea thinking. First get people to review the Project Objectives and to brainstorm "really bad ideas" (people normally find this easy). E.G. ideas to STOP people coming into store X. Post crazy ideas on a board. After 5-10 minutes, get teams to select 1 or 2 really bad ideas and to then brainstorm 180 degree opposite solutions.

6. SOCIETY MEGA TRENDS

Generate new ideas that are inspired by wider society "mega trends". You will need to identify the mega trends BEFORE the workshop, and add photos or videos to bring each trend to life. Work in small teams and get each team to focus on 2 or 3 different trends. Give them 15-20 minutes to capture any new ideas but ensure that they also focus on the agreed Project Objectives.

7. RANDOM MUSIC AND SOUNDS

Get pairs to generate new ideas inspired by "random songs and sounds", but keep them focused on the Project Objectives. Prepare a playlist of 15-20 "random songs or sounds. Split into pairs and play each sound for 20-30 seconds, asking one of the pairs to scribble down any thoughts that are inspired by each sound. After playing all the sounds, give pairs 10-15 minutes to capture 1 or 2 new ideas.

8. MULTI SENSES IN THE DARK

Working "in the dark" to generate new ideas by focusing on the sense of touch, taste or smell. Split group into pairs, with one wearing a blindfold and the other taking notes and writing down ideas. Hand each pair different objects to either touch, taste or smell. Keep switching around the different objects. This technique requires lots of preparation, can take time, but it can be inspiring.

9. HEADLINE NEWS

Split group into smaller teams to generate new ideas that are inspired by "random" headlines from the daily newspaper. Take time to identify and select headlines BEFORE the workshop that you think might be inspiring. If you have more time, you could ask each team to select a headline that they could use or that they could pass on to another team. Give 2 or 3 headlines to each team.

10. THINK LIKE A START UP

A great technique to use with delegates who work for large organisations. Working in small teams, encourage each team to imagine that they are now working for a small agency or a small start up company...and ask them to generate new ideas linked to agreed insights and / or the Project Objectives. Encourage teams to drop the restrictions that are sometimes placed by larger organisations.

Get in touch if you have any questions or comments - we'd love to hear from you.

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Our Ten Best Idea Generation Techniques

Monday, June 13, 2022

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This short blog covers our ten best techniques that we use to help teams generate fresh ideas linked to agreed innovation objectives. The techniques can be used in creative workshops or for virtual brainstorming.