Idea Generation- Key to New Product Development


Ideas rule the world
Often, we make the mistake of assuming that good ideas just happen. Or worse still, we get caught in the mind trap that creativity is for a few exceptional people; while the rest of us are not. Then there is the other self-defeating belief – “I am not intelligent enough to come up with good ideas.”

These assumptions are rarely true. Everyone can come up with fresh, radical ideas – you just need to learn to open your mind and think differently.


Challenge assumptions
For every situation, you have a set of key assumptions. Challenging these assumptions gives you a whole new spin on possibilities.
Let’s take for example, you want to buy a house but can’t, since you assume you don’t have the money to make a down payment on the loan. Challenge the assumption. Sure, you don’t have cash in the bank but couldn’t you sell some of your other assets to raise the money? Could you dip into your retirement fund? Could you work overtime and build up your cash in six months? Suddenly the picture starts looking brighter.
So by challenging the assumption will force you to think differently resulting to ideas been generated.

Engage in Observation Sessions
Great ideas won’t happen on its own. You need some way of getting your brain to think in new and creative ways. Commit time to specific sessions where you stimulate your brain into thinking differently. You can generate ideas by observing people, things, and situation or by simply walking through a new environment can introduce you to exciting activity and behavior that makes you think anew.

Socialise Outside Your Normal Circles
Hanging around with the same friends and colleagues can get you in a thinking rut. Take advantage of all your phone and social media connections and start some exciting conversations. New friends will help you generate new perspectives and new ways of thinking.

Reword the problem
Stating the problem differently often leads to different ideas. To reword the problem is to look at the issue from different angles. “Why do we need to solve the problem?”, “What’s the roadblock here?”, “What will happen if we don’t solve the problem?” These questions will give you new insights. You might come up with new ideas to solve your new problem.
Let’s take an example of a young Nigerian graduate looking for employment; his problem here is that he is looking for a company to employ him. What if he reword his problem to how can he be of help to the company he wants to employ him; this will cause him to think differently.

It’s hard to come up with great ideas when your mind is crowded with everyday thoughts and concerns. You need quiet space. Meditation will help you clear your mind of daily business and stress. Then you can quietly focus and generate ideas.

Use Structured Exercises
Structure breeds creativity. A very simple but effective exercise you can do to generate ideas is to brainstorm with at least a partner, take ten minutes (timed) to come up with 10 ideas on a specific topic or problem. You may only think of five or seven but no matter. You’ll find that there are at least two or three gems in the list.
All of these methods require a commitment of time and energy, but that’s the key to great ideas. You need to give your brain the time and space to work for you.

Shift Perspective
Over the years we all build a certain type of perspective and this perspective yields a certain type of idea. If you want different ideas, you will have to shift your perspective. To do so:
You need to ask different people what they would do if faced with your challenge. You could approach friends engaged in different kind of work, your spouse, customers, suppliers, senior citizens, someone from a different culture; in essence anyone who might see things differently.

Employ Enablers of idea generation
Enablers are activities and actions that assist with and help you generate ideas. They create a positive atmosphere. Some of the enablers that can help you get your creative juices flowing are:

Belief in yourself
Believe that you are creative, believe that ideas will come to you; positive reinforcement helps you perform better.

Creative time out
Take a nap, go for a walk, listen to music, play with your child, and take a break from formal idea-generating. Your mind needs the rest, and will often come up with connections precisely when it isn’t trying to make them.

Change of environment
Sometimes changing the setting changes your thought process. Go to a nearby recreational center instead of the conference room in your office, or hold your discussion while walking together round a local park.

The ability to generate new ideas is an essential work skill today. You can acquire this skill by consciously practicing techniques that force your mind to forge new connections, break old thought patterns and consider new perspectives.
Dare to think differently; take the right steps in generating ideas.

Olodu keonyedi – is a trained engineer and by passion and personal development a public/motivational speaker, a business coach and human capacity developer, he has a B.Eng degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Nigeria Nsukka, he is a member of Nigeria Society of Engineer and a COREN registered Engineer.

Email: Tel: 08037489704, keonyedi_mentorship