New ideas keep companies at the forefront of their
industries and can lead to exciting new products and campaigns that leave a
mark on people. There are few things more fulfilling than seeing an idea come to live, but where do they come from? When you’re faced with a blank sheet of
paper, how do you know where to start?
Idea generation can be an exciting process, so long as you
get off on the right foot. The next time you’re struggling, just remember these
five tips to get your creative juices flowing.
Give it Some Time
The worst thing you can do is try to force a good idea.
That’s why, if you’re invited to a creative brainstorm or pitch, it’s important
to find out your brief as early as possible. Set aside some time to conduct
some thorough research without the intimidation of a looming deadline.
If you need ideas geared towards a target audience, try to learn
what that audience would look for or what problems they regularly encounter.
Find out what other people or companies have tried and see if you can improve
on their efforts. Knowing what to do in the future starts with learning what’s
already been done, so do your research and let the information sit for a few
Record your Inspiration
Once you’ve done your research, inspiration can strike at any time, so it’s important to have a way of recording your thoughts. Try keeping a notepad dedicated to creative projects and write down any ideas you have. Whether it’s a fully-formed concept that suddenly comes to mind or just an important detail you need to retain, make sure it’s written down.
You can also quickly save any blog posts, graphics, or interesting threads you find online by using a bookmarking extension, such as Pocket. This helps you keep folders of bookmarked items (perfect if you need ideas for a range of projects at the same time) and lets you keep your bookmarks across devices, so you can save something from your phone and view it on your desktop later.
Rework ‘Bad Ideas’
If a project doesn’t work, it can be easy to disregard it and move on. Knowing when to do this is an important skill, but that doesn’t mean a project’s core concepts should be scrapped entirely. It might be the case that you can rework details of an unsuccessful idea into a brand new one under different circumstances.
Perhaps one campaign didn’t have the budget required to fully execute an idea, and that budget is now available. Or maybe your available equipment has been improved meaning you can now fully realise an idea’s potential. If you steer clear of labelling things as ‘bad’, you can keep your mind open to refining them into something perfect for a new project.
Find Supporting Data
Thinking of a great idea is only half of the battle – you also must be able to articulate it to other people and get them on board. That’s why it’s important to find some empirical data that will support your proposal. Anyone can say “I think it’ll work”, but by providing supporting research and statistics, you’re showing people why it’ll work.
While conducting your research, look for government surveys and statistics. These studies are often very comprehensive and can give you an accurate overview of specific industries or audience demographics. Then it’s simply a matter of seeing what problems and issues the data identifies and gearing your idea towards them.
Pitch to Others
When brainstorming, it can be easy to be protective and want to keep thoughts to yourself. After all, hearing that a colleague disagrees with you isn’t easy, particularly if you’re passionate about an idea that may be risky. However, taking the time to pitch concepts to your co-workers can be incredibly rewarding.
Formulating a pitch means you must make your idea appealing and functional while keeping your explanations brief. During this process, your colleague may notice opportunities straight away that you never considered, which you can then implement to make things even better.
Do you have any tips that help you stay creative? Let us know on Twitter at @viking_chat.