View Full Version : Top 5 Ways to Generate a Strong Idea:

09 September 2010, 10:59 PM
Generating ideas, increasing productivity and finding meaning while brainstorming are all great results that can be achieved using the techniques below.

1.>>>>>>Random Input.

This is one of the most common techniques creative's use. It's the idea of solving your problem by using a randomly chosen word as the answer. If you are ever stuck just come up with a way of randomly selecting a word. Fun examples: Walk up to an interesting looking stranger and ask them for a word, watch Tv on mute, then unmute it when a character is talking and use the first interesting word that comes out of their mouth. Once you have your word, it then becomes a process of listing every attribute and association that word has. Apply the attributes and associations to your problem and see what you get. It seems crazy but the human brain is hard wired to make sense of things when they are put together, even if the notions are completely disparate.

2.>>>>>>Problem Reversal

State a problem or existing idea in reverse. Take a positive statement and make it negative, make white black, figure out the ideal victory to a common defeat etc. Try define what something is not. Figure out what everybody is not doing. This is done all the time with great success, example: Japan marketed small, fuel efficient cars at a time when the American muscle car ruled. Ask "what if..." then state the exact opposite to your proposition. Fun example: Speak to a senior citizen and ask them about how things were 'back in their day' in relation to your problem. Take their story and reverse every key point. The purpose of problem reversal is to change your perspective and derail the way in which the world has trained you to think. This is similar to lateral thinking, which is covered below.


Mind mapping and brainstorming is a great way to stimulate creativity. The theory is that bouncing ideas off others stimulates creative thought, setting of a chain reaction of creativity in a group situation. A down side to brainstorming is that sometimes fresh ideas are easier to come up with when one is alone. This technique is at its most powerful when used to refine an already existing idea. The main criteria for having a good brainstorm session are:

-Have a well defined and clearly stated problem or desire going in.
-Have someone assigned to write down ideas as they occur.
-Have the right number of people in the brainstorm group. -Have a variety of creative personalities involved and make sure everyone gets their say.
-Follow the rules; Suspend judgment, every idea must be accepted and recorded. Encourage everyone to build on others ideas.
-Encourage people to come up with out there and odd ideas. History shows that often it's the most seemingly ludicrous ideas, which with a little more attention and thought can become something truly revolutionary.

4.>>>>>>Lateral thinking.

Lateral thinking questions seek to solve a problem via unorthodox or apparently illogical methods. Lateral thinking is like moving sideways to get a different perception, point of entry or concepts. This indeed is one of the greatest tools for idea generation. Free your mind and refrain from thinking anywhere near in terms of what has worked in the past. Fun tip: go to a kindergarten and pose your problem to a cluster of children. Children have not yet been conditioned in the way they think, which makes them an invaluable source of originality.

5.>>>>>> Live aka Research

Want a good research method or process? Living is the best form of research you could ever hope to do. Reading books and surfing the net is fine, but what you will most likely end up with is allot of head knowledge with very little emotional attachment. Fun tip: take a coin and assign a simple yes/no answer to each side. Proceed to allow the coin to dictate your every decision for an entire day, week, or month and see how interesting/different your life becomes. Living life to the fullest takes courage and commitment, which are probably the two most essential ingredients for establishing anything worth while, whether it be in the avenue of business, entertainment/media, or even in your personal life. In order to be truly creative you must place your mind in a world where you wholeheartedly believe that ANYTHING is possible.

09 September 2010, 05:40 AM
A strong idea for what? The methods listed certainly are useful, but in what context? If we're talking about letting serendipity become your muse, then these can be very effective, but for many creative talents, they long to have something meaningful to say--something that resonates emotionally and intellectually, and very often that creative spark must come from within. It could be based on important memories in a person's life--the lost of a loved one, the betrayal of a friend, the unrequited love between a child and a parent, childhood abuse, suffering injustice, personal triumphs, and so on. There are also one's socio-political dispositions that could be the source of inspiration--one's feelings about the separation of class in our society, the gender roles, racism, our government, foreign policies, mainstream vs. the independent thinkers, and so on.

All of these very personal and intimate thoughts and feelings can be mixed with the desire for escapism, and that's how good storytellers are able to write genre stories with meaning instead of mere disposable entertainment. The greatest sci-fi, fantasy, horror...etc all have that stamp of something deeper than disposable escapism, and that something deeper comes from within us, not arbitrary and random idea generators via serendipity or clever reverse thinking or whatever. While ideas generated by those methods might be clever, but unless you fuse them with something from within, they can easily become flashy ideas without any real substance.

09 September 2010, 07:36 AM
Agree with both of you. ;) Looks like LifewayCollege's methods asnwer to the question "how" when Lunatique has an emphasis on "what". These questions may not necessarily rise in certain order. Methods mentioned may help when when artist has something to say (hopefully), but doesn't have an idea how to approach it. Or it may also be the case that one creates an idea or contradiction of "something" with some method and then it should/will be filled with something that artist has in mind. Method just gives outer shape or one time solution to inner need.

But if asked I'd say that is far more serious to lack the "message" than a way to utilize it. Ideas wof both are needed though.

09 September 2010, 10:33 PM
I appreciate what you have both had to say and agree on many points. Most of these methods are to be utilized in building on an already existing idea.

It is impossible for any single human being alive on the planet today to create something out of nothing. In oder to create, we must always draw from existing material. It's the same deal when it comes to generating an idea; every creative thought is inspired by a sight, a sound, an experience, a previous thought etc........

We each as human beings have a vast inventory of experiences from which to draw our creative inspiration, but sometimes it helps to have methods such as those I have listed to assist in getting the creative ball rolling so to speak.

12 December 2010, 02:48 AM
I find that if I'm stumped for an interesting idea, I just get my friends or whoever is nearby really, to just riff off of each other until I have a satisfyingly original idea. It's amazing how bored people can come up with outrageous topics.

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