Last week, I introduced my concept of smart repetitions – repeats that give you better results and not insanity. Part of the concept was recognising when to change how you perform those repeats. Is that the hard part of being smart? I’m not sure it is.
Knowing that enough is enough might be possible to recognise without too much strife. You practice, you focus, you keep trying and the results don’t change. What next? You might need to review, tweak and try again. But what if you need a spark, a flash, an “a-ha” of a brand new way to get you achieving? Now I can feel the pain creeping in.
There are two important steps to create new ideas and if you want to minimise the pain, do them in this order:
- Create new ideas
- Evaluate all those ideas
- Create one idea
- Evaluate it
- Create another
- Evaluate it
Ermmm no smart repeat there! The reason I say that is by switching back and forth, you can get disheartened and put off by the black hat of critiquing then switching back to blue sky creativity. Keep your energy and pace high by sticking to creation where everything is valid, then evaluation where you can bin off duff ideas.
I want to focus on how to create new ideas in this b-mail, so here’s a couple of my favourite ways to go wild creating new ideas:
I love these – if you ever pop by my desk, you’ll find these as to-do lists, course structures, lesson plans AND for loosening up my thinking on next steps. On one page, you get the big overview stuff and the nitty gritty details. Never done one before? Learn how straight from the master, Tony Buzan here.
My top tips are be specific with the term in the centre as your stimuli, use the biggest paper you can find with lots of colours and don’t get hung up on spacing or line size and heck, if you need to draw a big ol’ arrow from one idea to another, do it. (ooowww I can hear purist mind-mappers groaning; it’s what works for me – I want the ideas not a perfect process).
One branch might be word association, one might be for the obvious solutions, one might be limitless cash options, one free options, one for time unrestricted or restricted and so on….you’ll get stacks of ideas start popping out in no time.
What would ……… do?
Simply insert a name, get into their heads and jot down what actions, approaches or moves they would make or are making to achieve your desired results.
I like to insert my goddaughter’s name and do it as a child, or a much respected peer or professional I admire or – and this is where the real fun starts! – by choosing a curveball of a person. When doing my branding, I did it as if I were the marketing guru at Sweaty Betty, Virgin and moo.com. For course content, I channel my inner favourite teachers from uni and college.
Why does this work? You get to step out of “being you”, with the boundaries and constraints that can sometimes bring. Instead you can immerse yourself in being Lady Gaga, Sherlock Holmes or JK Rowling and how they’d tackle your challenge.
Last one…..a true golden oldie….
Who’s already where you want to be? Who’s got a perspective on your goal? Who’s getting better results? Who’s invested in you achieving your goals? Friend, partner, guru, business, academic, anyone who can stretch your ideas list.
How do you get your question to them? Friends, family and personal connections aside, try these:
Email them through LinkedIn or their website’s contact page, offer a coffee in exchange for picking their brains, post a question on the website, blog or Facebook page, send them a tweet, go to an event they’ll be at, send them a postcard with your question and contact details, join online groups or masterminds, reply to their newsletter……..people are pretty “contactable” these days; don’t forget Google can often track them down too.
My advice is to be polite and be brave. Most people are happy to respond to genuine questions and to share how they got somewhere or what they did that made all the difference. You’ll find this can also ping off additional ideas in your mind.
Has that got your creative juices going? Ready to create new ideas? Hope so! Of course, these work for coming up with your initial idea too and not just the subsequent ones.
Do you use another method or technique to kick start your idea generation? Please share them in the comments, so we can all try them out! Feel free to post links to good resources, experts or inspirations too. Play along and help build the list and I’ll put together a download so you’ll have them all in one place to refer to when the need arises!