Introducing The Homemade Idea Generator

Idea Generation Techniques for homemade idea generators

The best business minds and authors have all hit a road block or Writer’s Block at some point in their careers where their idea generator fails. It’s that point in the day where you’re tasked with creating the next best campaign or story, and the only item on the creative campus is pure white space. The only thing you need is one great idea generation prompt to finish the day on a good note.

Whenever I feel ‘stumped,’ it’s usually because I’m trying too hard not to use an idea that has already been brought up by the team in a past meeting, or a story that has already been used over and over again. I’m choking my mental pipeline for new ideas, and the ideas have not even begun to flow – yet.

Instead of tossing potentially great ideas for your new startup marketing plan or book idea, try these idea generation techniques to jump over the block and get running in the right direction.

You don’t have to be a genius to create a genius invention. You just need a solid idea that is executed by some savvy people.

When you are a start-up or small business, you know you have to innovate to grow and stay one step ahead of the competition. Also, you may not have the budget to hire a team of seasoned and skilled marketing professionals. Here are some tips to create your own idea generator to get fresh, new ideas and your next project off the ground:

4 Idea Generation Techniques

Idea Generation Techniques for homemade idea generators

Write Down Every Suggestion

Most professionals are conscious about looking stupid in front of their co-workers. It’s a survival instinct. However, you perform better when you take off the self-imposed filter to give your idea a fighting chance – each and every one of them.

When brainstorming at the white board, note small things like ‘incorporate meaningful hashtags,’ ‘photograph winner with parents,’ or ‘have studio create black & white version.’ You never know when small details will turn into impactful elements. Your idea generator can also be in the form of a notebook, scrapbook or even your digital tablet.

Start Talking

If you’ve ever figured out a challenge at work during the solo drive home while talking to yourself, this one should be easy. When your goal is to come up with a new business idea or solve a problem, try talking it out. Think of elements surrounding the goal you are trying to achieve, such as the overall message, people involved, resources required and individual processes. Idea generation techniques of this kind don’t necessarily require group brainstorming sessions.

Also, try answering this question out loud: “what would sound absolutely crazy to my boss/team/co-workers/customers, but yield awesome results?” Now, write it down.

Break the Fabricated Rules

This is easier to do when you are in a start-up or small business (especially when you happen to be the CEO). Certain organizational influences and direct orders will constrain ideas in the incubation phase by saying the new idea “costs too much,” “is too extreme” and “is not relevant.”

My recommendation would be to worry about the budget, graphical nature, and targeted message down the road. Firstly, concentrate on the idea generation and get the concept right. If you have to tone it down, that’s simpler after the core concept is established and understood. Two of my favorite examples of breaking from the norm include these commercials from Kmart and Dove.

Be Yourself

The idea generator is organic by nature. A robot, algorithm or a machine does not create these ideas for you. Therefore, these ideas should look, feel, and act with your personal touch. In other words, they shouldn’t be too generic or complacent. After all, you’re an entrepreneur and there is nothing ‘basic’ about you!

The next time you’re having trouble coming up with the next suave idea, remember, part of the process (and fun) of coming up with a great idea is the journey, and the time it takes to make that idea a reality. In the end, the journey is worth it, and so is your idea that you took the time to cultivate into the next great marketing concept, business start-up or awesome project.

What tricks do you use to generate great ideas? Are your idea generation techniques different from the norm? Share your thoughts and comments below. Thanks!

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  • Hey Sam, indeed an awesome post! Yesterday had a chat with a few people who actually subscribe to the blog and they were thoroughly impressed with your posts so far. So, I thought I should let you know in public.

    Part of what was mentioned was that the ‘State Side’ touch brought a certain peculiar twist to Business Banter. I like it 😉

    • Sam Frymer

      Thanks for the input here Shameer. I will keep my style from this side of the pond growing in the right direction!

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  • Dillon

    A fine post Sam, The point about writing down every suggestion is essential. You never know when that particular idea may come handy and either be applied into a project or developed on its own.

    Woud you say it’s better to write many ideas down or focus on a single idea and spend as much time as possible on developing thoughts on that idea? Pros and cons?

    • Sam Frymer

      Dillon, I appreciate you checking out the article. In response to your question:

      I would say it’s better to write many ideas down. The danger in applying the no-that-won’t-work filter too early is far too many ideas that could have turned out “unexpectedly” great go in the trash can. That’s a pretty heavy price to pay while being graded on creativity. I think you have to be past the incubation/brainstorming phase to really start drilling down on that single idea. The con here is that it takes extra time coming out of the gate. However, assuming this campaign is built for the long-run (or even a short-run media ad that costs a large amount of capital), it will be worth the wait.

  • Every business need to be creative through good forward moving ideas. No matter what industry you’re in, ideas need to be generated in order to keep evolving. Sometimes it can be as simple as ‘New Offers’ or ‘Refurbishing the Reception Area’ but it makes sense to generate ideas on a constant basis.

    Great article ready to inspire on an individual level!

    • Sam Frymer

      Thanks for the input Tony! Although design isn’t my expertise, I always think “less is more” applies to it, and sometimes to new ideas as well.

      Have a great week!

  • Lirone Glikman

    Great article Sam! I encounter this topic every now and again when I need to find a solution to something or find a new idea for my next article, seek for a better way to present something and more. Sometimes I do use different tactics to find the answer and I will add yours to my list!

    Our mind is a powerful tool and I see it work when sometimes I just raise the question to myself and the idea just pops up in my mind after a while… 🙂
    Thank you!

    • Sam Frymer

      Thanks Lirone! It seems that every time I am driving or in the gym, I am reminded that I need to work out my mind as much as my body and spirit. Glad you liked the article.

  • Raza Kahn

    Coming up with ideas is more complicated than this, but you have given people a good start here. One point I think that you should have added is about viewing other peoples work and analyze how their thinking works and what the audience thinks of it. Nevertheless, some valid points here!

    • Sam Frymer

      Raza, thank you for the response here. I agree there is definitely a process pipeline here. I also think that if people use these as a “jump off point,” they will give more ideas a chance to fly.

  • Mr Rees

    Great idea generation techniques Sam. I enjoyed the start talking bit, as I personally find that quite accommodating. However, most people find talking to yourself as a bit of a stigmatic scenario, madness as the extreme, but this method can be very rewarding as you’re sounding it out aloud.

    Would you say rather than creating an idea, one should possibly create a need first? Whether it be a product, service or idea.

    • Sam Frymer

      Thank you for checking out the article and the question, Mr. Rees. Personally, I think that ideas can create needs that did not exist prior a lifestyle experience launch. For example, someone at Google created a smartphone app that includes a calendar with reoccurring reminders. Prior to this creation, I never used one of these apps, but once the idea came about I was tremendously compelled to use it. Sometimes, I also think it’s a “chicken or the egg” scenario.

  • Douglas Kimani

    You’re giving off a very good message about bringing out creative ideas for people starting in business. What i like is the fact that so many start up businesses are solo or 2 people businesses and sometimes the idea of coming up with better ideas is difficult. But this message is very good and helps individuals channel the right paths to making ideas happen.

    Thank you Sam very good article.

    • Sam Frymer

      I appreciate the kind words Douglas. There are so many talented professionals out there, and sometimes it just takes a couple key tweaks to change things up and get going.