- Bored? Open up Netflix or Hulu or HBO Go or Disney Plus or Amazon Prime and choose from thousands of titles that you can start watching in seconds.
- Hungry? You can find fast-food versions of pretty much any type of cuisine; and if you live in a big city, you can get pretty much any restaurant delivered.
- Lonely? Fire up an online dating account. But forget about crafting a thoughtful, detailed profile. Just upload a picture and start swiping.
These are just three of the most obvious examples. You could probably come up with three more of your own in a matter of minutes.
Living in our society trains us to expect exactly what we want exactly when we want it. And not just as consumers of products and services, but more generally as consumers of life.
This means that it is increasingly difficult to stand out and get noticed in almost any walk of life -- at work, online, heck sometimes even at home. (Are you more interesting right now than what's on their phone?)
It just is what it is: people's increasingly limited attention spans and reservoirs of patience simply don't have as much time for you anymore.
Which means you better be special. You better be different. Sure, you should also try to be better, but anymore different and better are becoming one in the same.
What's the key to creating something or being someone who is different or better, or ideally both? You have to have better ideas. (Yes, you have to be able to execute on them too, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.)
And there is no magic path to better ideas. The "lightning strike of inspiration" is a dangerous myth at worst and a misnomer at best.
Great ideas require high-quality inputs, time to percolate, and then intentional time set aside for retrieval -- which is usually a combination of idle time to let the subconscious work on the inputs like a crockpot, and active time spent exploring and recording the contents of our minds for ideas that are worth bringing out of our thoughts and into reality.
Which brings us to ideation.
Ideas are power. Ideas are currency. The world has way too much stuff and far too many things, but it will never have enough useful, innovative ideas.
The abundance of choice, the convenience of consumption, automation, machine learning ... so much is already developed, available, and rapidly improving. You can get run over by the train, or you can move elsewhere and start laying new tracks. To choose the second path, you'll need a reliable process for ideation.
And in this week's edition of the THINKERS Roundup, I'll reintroduce you to one of the most powerful methods for ideation and provide you with three links that will make you better at ideation no matter what process you're most comfortable with.
This week in the THINKERS Workshop
Sean Jackson and I recently conducted a webinar and Q&A about brainwriting, and it got such a positive response that we decided to create a full brainwriting mini course inside of the THINKERS Workshop called Generate Better Ideas with Brainwriting.
You have to be a member of the THINKERS Workshop ($99 per year or free for people who own a THINKERS Notebook) to view the full course, but I'm unlocking the first video for newsletter subscribers to view.
Here it is: The 5-Step Process for Better Brainwriting
And remember: the THINKERS Notebook was designed to be the perfect tool for brainwriting -- either as an individual or in a team setting.
Now onto this week's links ...
A simple 5-step process for production ideation
ENCOURAGE CRAZY IDEAS
Remove all the limitations and boundaries that exist at your organisation. Pretend you have a blank canvas - worry about whether the idea will work later down the track. Even if an idea doesn’t seem realistic, it may spark a great idea for someone else.
If for example an idea is progressed and a barrier to implementation is a lack of available budget, then use it as an opportunity to ideate again to think of ideas of how to implement the idea with a smaller budget.
Read: How to Run a Successful Ideation Session (Shay Namdarian)
How to ideate like an expert
Too many ideation sessions happen during regular team meetings, without the participants being fully aware of being ideating. Ideas are shot verbally and jotted down in the meeting minutes (in the luckiest scenario). Instead, a key element of the best ideation sessions is that each idea is tracked and can be used as a building block in following sessions.
Read: 4 Golden Rules of Ideation (Nick Bogaert)
Design thinking isn't just for designers
In the ideation phase, you’ll explore and come up with as many ideas as possible. Some of these ideas will go on to be potential solutions to your design challenge; some will end up on the reject pile. At this stage, the focus is on quantity of ideas rather than quality. The main aim of an ideation session is to uncover and explore new angles and avenues—to think outside the box. For the sake of innovation and creativity, it is essential that the ideation phase be a “judgement-free zone”.
Read: What Is Ideation In Design Thinking? A Guide To The Most Important Ideation Techniques (Emily Stevens)
Quote of the week
“An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come.”
-- Victor Hugo
Chief Creative Thinker