A post from Bill Stainton, producer of Almost Live in Seatle and winner of something like 29 consecutive Emmys... he recommended one thing for coming up with fresh ideas. Get to a new location. A park, a coffee shop, a library... some place that gives your brain new surroundings.
How many of you have watched crime shows on TV, where the 'team' is trying to solve a crime? What intrigues me about these shows is how the members of the team keep throwing thoughts in the ring, and no-one ridicules or criticises!
I often feel that this culture is what is needed in business circles.
One method of generating ideas is a "think tank" or a "brainstorming" session. I have found these to have mixed results, mainly because participants are reluctant to throw in their thoughts out of fear of ridicule.
We need to foster a culture of innovation and encouragement amongst the group.
Another factor to consider is mixing the group, so they come from different functional and life backgrounds.
Also, to kick off a brainstorming session (or 'think tank') we need to clearly explain the problem or the objective.
Just a few thoughts off the top of the head - but that's what brainstorming is all about!
I talk, to other people, really. Creativity can be managed.
Personally, I find brainstorming 'un productive' for new ideas, great for developing a new process or method, but for new ideas, you need new environments, good ideas are organic and develop, so change your space, talk to new people create new opportunities and you will find your new idea!
New ideas can come from any number of sources. One good way to generate new ideas is to surround yourself with people that have similar goals, and brainstorm. You can also learn new skills that would help generate new ideas once you learn them. Another good way is to expose yourself to new experiences.
Also, train yourself to be aware of problems you come across during the course of a normal day, and think of ways to solve those problems. Regardless of how small the problem is, if you find something you wish could have been done better, for example, or something that you wish could be easier to use, chances are there are a lot of other people out there who feel the same way. That could spark a new product idea, or even a new business.
It's not about how many ideas you can get, because, beleive me, you/we can generate so many ideas that it seems like a limitless potential (Because it is!)...
It is more about which ideas do you choose to grab, catch, and decide what to do with them anyway?
Read these two books:
"The Ten Faces of Innovation" and "The Art of Innovation" both by Tom Kelley of IDEO.
Also, watch this:
hope this helps.
Send out surveys
Ask my social network
Popcorn writing or white boarding - don't think about it just capture whatever comes to mind (through association, questions, interviewing, story telling)
Go for a walk
Focus groups, team collaboration, brain storming
Let's try to change the premise. I believe, that, by default, every person keeps generating new ideas every day. But there's a number of cases when you think "oh, I cannot think about anything". Why could this happen?
The most obvious reason is being loaded with the other tasks and projects that fill your brain to capacity. So the next step is to detect and pause or remove them to get space for new.
GTD approach is great. Take an hour or two to make sure that you'll have free time to work on new ideas - it's either finishing quick tasks, or postponing them with the exact timing in mind.
2. Current ideas
Write it down, all. Idea, action steps, important notes. Personally, I love doing it on paper. Many of my friends prefer Evernote or other software.
If you are irritated/feel unmotivated/angry etc., freeing the time doesn't help. Physical exercise does. My choice is 5 km run. You burn out things you do not need, but do not become too tired. For some people, meditation works better. Try and find what suits you best.
After that, get to creating the things you need. Using paper helps. Reading a good article helps. Two books helped me a lot. "Making ideas happen" by Scott Belsky and "Choose Yourself" by James Altucher. They do not tell about creative productivity, but motivate to get something new and great done.
I agree with Robert- fresh perspective is everything. This could mean explaining your problem to peers/colleagues to get their input, working through the process on a whiteboard rather than your laptop, or even leaving your office and thinking about something else for an hour.
Step outside the box to be able to think outside the box!
With a pen and paper. I've designed some of the most creative ideas on pen and paper. Then I look for competitors. I also like to read tech articles, and articles about gadgets. Sometimes its the combination between two devices that catches your eye.
For example, I'm researching how to create a self-leveling pinball machine where the legs will automatically adjust up and down based on levels(balance). It will have other applications too. This is just an example. Once I figure out the technology I can create costs estimates and determine if the project is worth pursuing.
I think you have to go outside of your comfort zone and really get a different perspective from where you are. Sometimes that can mean going to a conference that has nothing to do with your primary industry, or seeking out people who do a very different job.
Stepping outside your comfort zone will breakdown the cyclical nature of your own thoughts and can help generate new ideas and new ways of looking at the world.
I think you said it already. "Share your ideas". Brainstorming has to be the #1 way to generate ideas.
If you are going solo then you need to recognize an idea when you have it. A lot of people have ideas. But they never take the idea and turn it into anything tangible.