You can learn why things are happening by being in conversations … and from listening very carefully.

That’s where most of my ideas come from. But what about you? Where do you get ideas from?



My marketing background and natural writer’s curiosity to learn what makes people tick, means I dig deep to uncover as many ‘great things’ as I can.

Being unafraid of asking questions means you can uncover hidden treasures of opportunities. Just keep asking questions. Again and again, and still more.

That’s where ideas come from.

And don’t be afraid. That’s the other secret.


Eight essential idea starters

To help kick start you on your idea-quest, here’s eight ways to get at least one idea:


1. Become a question mark … again.

As you were when you were a child.

Talk to people in your conversation, not at them. Dig to discover specifics, issues, problems or the pain that they may have or feel. The answers can often be the keys to an idea. Best of all would be an idea that’s the ideal solution to the needs you just heard in your conversation.


2. Become idea prone.

Ordinary people get great ideas every day. Believe that you can come up with ideas. If you tell yourself that you will ‘never get ideas’ then you never will. Those who believe they can, can; those who believe they can’t, can’t. It’s as simple as that.

Whatever you see, ask yourself why it is the way it is. If you don’t get an answer that makes sense, perhaps there’s room for a new way, a new idea.

The way you think affects what you think about and what kinds of thoughts you get. And the more kinds of thoughts, the more ingredients you’ll have for the idea cooking pot.


3. Try thinking visually.

Often the marketing and advertising greats didn’t (and still don’t) think in words; they think in pictures, they think in relationships, they think in metaphors, they think ideas.

Once you get a visual idea, the words are easy after that.


4. Try thinking spherically, in all directions.

We’re generally brought up and taught at school to think linearly or vertically, to think logically from one point to the next until we reach a sound conclusion. This thinking is analytically, sequential, purposeful.

Another approach is to think spherically, or laterally. This thinking is in jumps. You don’t have to follow a logical path; you can take side tracks, another road and seemingly go nowhere. But no matter; it often leads to an idea.


5. Try removing boundaries.

Many times your thinking is stifled by you assuming that a problem has restrictions, boundaries, limitations and constraints, when in fact it doesn’t.

Next time you’re looking for a new idea or solution, ask yourself: “What assumptions am I making that do not actually apply? What unnecessary limitations am I placing on myself and my ideas?”


6. Play “What if?”

Remember playing this as a child? Many grownups still play it when trying to come up with a different way of doing or presenting something.

What if – things were older, human, inhuman, solid, liquid, added to, subtracted from, invented, rediscovered… there are so many possibilities.


7. Look for analogues.

Is it similar to anything else? What’s it dissimilar to? Compare yourself to something greatest, fastest, slowest, ‘bestest’…

Compare it to the most positive and most negative (un-whateverish) attributes you can think of. An idea can come from unlikely comparisons.


8. Look for things to combine.

Take a chance. Getting an idea often means combining things that were never combined before. Don’t forget you’ll never get an idea if you don’t take a chance of some kind.

So swallow your fear, pull out your courage and attack.


Then the next test of course, is how you apply those great ideas.


Photo via stock.xchng user raja4u


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