In my experience we either label ourselves as an Ideas Person, or Not An Ideas Person – and never the twain shall meet. But I would say that this division is unnecessarily binary. You don’t have to be a creative to be good at generating ideas; ideas are about thinking outside of the box and turning problems into opportunities: ideas and ideas people, come in all shapes and sizes.
Right now, in these Covid times, when life and work are so up in the air, I would go as far as to say that being An Ideas Person will put you ahead of the game. This isn’t the time to be just spinning that hamster wheel; we are living through a time of change on every front, and we can use this shift to our advantage at work.
Remember, we often tell ourselves that we are, or aren’t something, when really if we stepped away from that very fixed (and paralysing) mindset, towards one of growth and learning, everything becomes possible. So, instead of labelling yourself at one end or other on the Ideas Scale, focus on how you can learn think more creatively, because we all have the capacity to grow. We all need to start somewhere, so have a read of my Top Five Ideas Tips and see the exciting places that it takes you.
UNLOCK YOUR INNER IDEAS PERSON
- Think In Reverse: If you’re looking to create a new website, say, and you’re really struggling with where to start, begin by planning exactly what you don’t want. When we spending time working out what doesn’t work, it helps us to uncover what is right; it’s a reverse spark for new ideas. And is surprisingly effective too
- Rephrase The Problem: Garrett Camp, founder of Uber, was stuck around how he was going to afford a fleet of cars to start his new taxi business. When he stopped, assessed and had a good idea: instead of focusing on the cars first, he narrowed in on the customer experience as the priority. This led to the Uber app, and well the rest is history….
- Mix Your Media: If you’re anything like me, you get stuck in a rut when it comes to which newspapers, blogs, social channels and podcasts you digest. We are creatures of habit (more of which another time), which means that by simply changing what you read, see and hear, will inevitably spark new thoughts and new thoughts, lead to new ideas. If you have a certain work problem that you can’t solve, or you feel there’s space to grow in a certain sector, start reading associated industry publications too. Be open and free with your inspiration.
- Make Unusual Connections: So, here’s a bit of a random one, but I love it. If you’re stuck on something then try this. First, hold the problem in your mind. Next, look around you, and pick something that you see; perhaps it’s a ball point pen, or a mug of coffee. Now, try drawing connections between your problem and your random object. You can do the same with pictures and words that come to mind. By forcing yourself to find bridges between these two unrelated items will get your creative juices going, and hey presto: new ideas.
- Find A Fresh Perspective: We can end up in a bit of a friend/colleague echo chamber from time to time, so it you’re looking for new ideas, do it via the medium of a fresh perspective. Reach out to a people you haven’t spoken to for a while, or others who are totally unrelated to your work, and hear their points of view on things. Seek out those with marked difference in gender, age, background and knowledge to your usual sounding boards. You might not get a new idea straight away, but you’ll certainly hear some new persepectives and sometimes that’s all it takes.
Ideas are the life blood of fulfilled people and successful companies, because they put us ahead of the curve. And remember, even if your ideas don’t become reality, showing those above and around you that you’re constantly thinking creatively and pushing boundaries, will put a big tick in your initiative box. Now, go and find the most random item on your desk and let it be a starting point for your next big thing 🙂