Sometimes, I can be an ideas volcano. They are popping out all over the place. I don’t much care whether they will work or not, because the sheer volume of ideas means that some are bound to stick.
The thing about ideas is that you can’t control when and how you are going to have them. Annoyingly, I often think of a blog idea or a way to make some money when I don’t have anything to record it with, or it simply seems to exit my brain as quickly as it went in.
The big challenge of coming up with great ideas is how to free yourself from the everyday stuff that sits festering in your brain. You know, like what time the kids need picking up and what you’ll have for dinner. So sometimes, you need to resort to other ways to get those synapses exploding.
1. Get out of your comfort zone and connect
Get some new perspectives by meeting people outside your normal social circles and asking for their opinions. It’s amazing how much we can get stuck in an ideas rut by hanging out with friends and family who naturally agree with us.
2. Make time to read
One of the most useful changes that I made a year or two back was to start reading again. Books, blogs, articles, social media. Setting aside time to do some mind expanding reading a few times a week does wonders for your ideas generation, and helps give you a perspective on current trends and to form your own opinions. You never know, you might be inspired to write one yourself.
3. Carry a notebook
Remember what I said earlier about not recording my ideas? Do try to have something, electronic or not, to write down ideas. They pop into your head at very inappropriate times, but if you can get them down as soon as possible, you can refine them later.
4. People watch
Some of the best ideas come about when you are watching people. I love watching and listening to people out and about. It gives you a small snapshot into the reality of people’s daily lives and it’s this way that you will start to notice opportunities and places where you can fit in.
5. Tell everyone
Yes, really. Tell lots of people your idea and watch it evolve into something much better. After all, your idea remains an idea unless you actually do something to make it happen, and you probably need other people to help make it happen. If you are worried that someone will steal it, then don’t be. They can never carry it off like you could, and imitation is never the best way to launch a new product or business anyway. You, meanwhile, will have the benefit of first mover advantage and all those people around you who are rallying around to help make your idea work!