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Think Tank: How To Come Up With Great Ideas

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Think Tank: How To Come Up With Great Ideas

Don’t wait around for inspiration – follow these steps to generate better ideas

Want better ideas without waiting for inspiration or spending too much time brainstorming? Coming up with original and creative ideas is an art, and like any other art, there are many ways to master it. Yep, it’s not always a stroke of genius.

Practice makes perfect, so put these steps into practice and soon, you’ll be able to find your aha! moment.

1. Clear Your Mind

The first thing you need to do is stop worrying about everything – so you can put all your energy into birthing awesome ideas. For instance, a common thought that plagues most people is, ‘I don’t have a creative bone in my body’ or ‘I am not creative enough’.

Limiting beliefs like these will only hold you back from coming up with authentic ideas. Free yourself from boundaries and inhibitions by believing in the fact that we are all born creative.

2. Exercise Your ‘Idea Muscles’

As blogger, entrepreneur and ‘idea machine’ James Altucher says, you have to exercise your ‘idea muscles’ to hone your creativity. He encourages people to do as he does: write 10 ideas every day no matter what. Just pick a theme and get started.

The objective of this exercise is to get familiar with the process of idea generation, not to execute the ideas that come to you. What’s more, it will also lessen the internal pressure of perfectionism, which according to James, prevents you from spawning ideas.

In fact, he says that “you have to shut the brain off to come up with ideas. The way you do that is by forcing it to come up with bad ideas.”

3. Do Your Research

As awesome as spontaneity is, it won’t help you much if you do not have adequate knowledge about your topic. Know your subject matter well so that your ideas flow in the right direction.

Pune-based software tester Kiera, 24, agrees. She says, “Whenever I need to debug a piece of code, I don’t just jump in and try random stuff. I study the code thoroughly and then figure out what I can do to make it as flawless as possible.”

4. Take a Break

Sometimes, the best ideas come when you are doing anything else other than thinking about them. And according to science and personal experience, the shower is one such place. Buffer co-founder Leo Widrich talks about the reason behind this in his blog post.

Basically, when we are relaxed and distracted, our mind and subconscious work together to craft the idea we were looking for. Apart from taking a shower, music and exercise also help achieve such results. Basically, do whatever relaxes and energises you.

5. Give It Time & Space

Idea generation takes time, so give yourself that wiggle room.

Also, do it in a creative zone that inspires you. This will give you a safe, judgment-free space to explore and note down your ideas. It will also help you to focus on your task.

All in all, good ideas are not as random as they seem. It takes a lot more than luck to bring them to life. While there are many tried and tested techniques to get better ideas, it ultimately boils down to what works for you. Good luck!

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Mahevash Shaikh is the twenty-something author of Busting Clichés. She loves to write, draw and laugh (among other things). You can find her using words and pictures to express herself and redefine the word "normal" at www.mahevashmuses.com.

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