Chances are, you’ve heard the phrase “We need to be more innovative!” or even uttered it yourself, at some point in your career. The problem is, we can’t just decide to be more innovative and expect it to happen magically. If we could, I’d be in my flying car right now! But there are some simple things we can do to give ourselves a better chance at coming up with great new ideas.
Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling once said:
If you want to have good ideas you must have many ideas. Most of them will be wrong, and what you have to learn is which ones to throw away.
Call it personal brainstorming, an idea session, or whatever you like. A good first step to becoming more innovative is setting aside dedicated time to generate and expand on ideas. Do it once, then make a habit of it.
Here are 4 tips to help you get the most out of these sessions:
- Before you start, establish a goal for your session. For example, finding a solution to a particular problem or elaborating and expanding on ideas from a previous session. This gives you an initial focus and something against which to measure ideas when you review them. In addition, research has shown that restricting your thinking in some way can help your creativity.
- Write it down. If you don’t already have a preferred place for capturing ideas, explore a few options to find what works best for you. Some popular options are Evernote or OneNote notes, Word documents, or entries in a task or list manager like Asana or Krumplr.
- Don’t dive too deep on any one particular idea. Instead, focus on capturing as many ideas or thoughts as you can. Jot them down in just enough detail that you can recall and expand on them at a future point.
- Decide on the next steps and take action. Brainstorming sessions are worthless unless ideas lead to action. At the end of your session, take a few minutes to review your ideas and convert some of them into actions on your to-do list.
Ok, now for my shameless plug… Even if you don’t use Krumplr to capture ideas during your session, it can still help you quickly create, organize, and manage the actions that come out of it. Here’s how:
- If you captured your ideas using one of the growing list of cloud services Krumplr can connect with, such as Asana or Evernote, connect your account. You’ll be able to select the ideas you want to followup on from these services then view, organize, and prioritize them together with all your other to-dos.
- Use something else? Copy and paste the text into Krumplr, add a little markup, and Krumplr will turn it into a list.
Ok, now you can go back to thinking about that flying car…