Creating ideas means that you are open to the spontaneous thoughts and interconnections that emerge and see them as opportunities for future solutions.
This is a skill that can be practised and there are methods to support, stimulate, inspire, and structure this process. The methods favour the process and drive up the level of creative thinking.
The methodology within idea development is primarily about cross-fertilizing thoughts and associating them with other’s ideas. Therefore, it is important to let this happen! Here are some important aspects to consider:
Distinguish between lateral and structured thinking
When getting ideas, individually or in groups, it is important not to value them directly. Seemingly strange ideas are often the starting point for solving a problem in a truly innovative way. Practicalities can always be resolved at a later stage. We, therefore, encourage you to separate the time when you come up with ideas, with the time when you evaluate the ideas.
Quantity = Quality
All ideas are valuable and can serve as the inspiration for the best solution. Therefore, all ideas should be written down, shared and saved. Often, you might need to go back later in the development phase – then you must have your old ideas to draw inspiration from. Therefore, do not throw away any ideas!
Make sure to push forward so that you get a great variety of ideas. A large amount means that there are more ideas to work on, and proofs that you have tried to solve the problem in more than one way. There is rarely just one good solution to a problem!
Be a yes-sayer! It is of the utmost importance that everyone is positively attuned and endorses all ideas. Seemingly crazy ideas can be the seed of the idea that has the greatest solution potential and there is time to evaluate the ideas at a later stage. Criticizing and saying no is prohibited as this hinders participants. Feel free to ask if it is something you do not understand but be careful with how you phrase it so that participants don’t become uncertain.
Everyone must be involved in the session. A silent participant can create uncertainty, as well as an overly dominant participant can inhibit others. Your body language is very important so remember to always radiate participation with your body language.
During the process, it is important with an open, secure and focused atmosphere. Therefore, create a mood of openness, security and, focus – humour and play are recognized methods for this. The laughter and humour are linked to the absurd and can, therefore, open up the mind.
A consensus around the problem
A great way to get started is to make an inventory of what has already been done. By making an inventory you also get a clearer vision of what can be defined as a new solution.
Define a question to start with – it can be a big question, several smaller questions, or both. Write the question down so that everyone can see it and make sure that everyone agrees on what it means. Then hide the question – this makes it easier for you to let it go while generating new ideas. Come back to the question from time to time during the process.
Storm’s favourite methods for idea generation
1 – Creative idol = How would your idol solve the problem? Start with a well-known person or character, for example, Pippi Longstocking, Superman or Nelson Mandela, and imagine how they would have solved it.
2 – Roleplay = Look at the problem from someone else’s perspective. How would an animal or a firefighter solve the problem?
3 – A future vision = What would be the utopian solution to the problem?
4 – Inverted idea generation = Come up with solutions which would aggravate the situation. Then look at your suggestions and turn them around – the negative become something positive.
5 – Random word = Select a word, e.g. The 5th word on the 5th page of a book, and let this work as an inspiration for your solution.
6 – Image association = Use a randomly selected image or shape, and let this work as an inspiration for your solution.