How To Have New IdeasA Short Course By Steve Gillman Brought To You By http://www.IncreaseBrainpower.com And http://www.999Ideas.com
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IntroductionNot sure that you can come up with dozens of ideas by tomorrow?Do you think it is difficult to invent things in your mind?Do you believe creativity cant be taught?Do you also think that book introductions are long and boring?Well, youre about to change your mind.
Table Of ContentsLesson One - Creative Concept CombiningLesson Two - New ApplicationsLesson Three - Using An Idea-Generating Word ListLesson Four - Creativity And InnovationLesson Five - Creating New Products Based On True NeedsLesson Six - BrainstormingLesson Seven - Concentration And Brainpower
Lesson One Creative Concept CombiningIn this first lesson, we are going to jump right in with one of the besttechniques for creating new ideas: creative concept combination. Just startcombining ideas and things, and voila, youre having fun - and maybecreating something new. Lets get to the examples.Concept Combination For Fun And Profit"Tattoo" plus "advertising" might lead to the first large tattoo placementadvertising campaign. Want a monthly stipend for having a Coke logo onyour forehead? For a ton of new business ideas, just combine the concept of"home delivery" with almost anything. Parties, tax preparers, rentalswimming pools? Would people pay to have these things delivered?As with any idea-generating technique, you need to be careful not to stifleyour creativity. Allow ideas to come without judging them. Critical analysisis for later. Also remember that these techniques are tools, not rules. If yourmind goes off on a creative tangent - just let it.Randomly combining things is a great mental exercise when youre drivingor daydreaming. A boat and a bicycle becomes a water-ski-bike that glidesacross the water using pedal-power. Combining stock-trading andMcDonalds has you imagining the selling of stocks and bonds at drivethrough windows.For more specific areas of interest, look for things to combine with whatyou already have. If your taxi business is struggling, combining "taxi" and"pets" might lead to a successful arrangement with a kennel, to pick up and
deliver their clients cats and dogs. "Famous people," might give you theidea to run some sort of tour of the town, like they do in Hollywood.For maximum creativity in your innovation, look far and wide for conceptsto combine. "Meditation" and "amusement parks" seem too unrelated toyield interesting combinations, but Ill bet people at a carnival would pay tobe put into a meditative trance using the latest brain wave entrainmenttechnologies.Limitless New Creative ConceptsThis technique is great for new product ideas, inventions and business ideas,but it isnt limited to those areas. In fact, some of the most creative newideas come from combining concepts from radically different areas. Needexamples?Church/Shopping Mall. Hmm... Four churches within one building.Christians, Muslims, Jews and Buddhists all sharing common space aftertheir respective services and ceremonies. It might encourage tolerance, andeven be inviting to those who want to "test" the various faiths.Jail/Mountains. Maybe use prison labor to maintain the trails in NationalParks?Swimming/Alarm. Alarms for swimming pools? It sounds if a child falls in,and is otherwise easily turned off for regular use.Poetry/Economics. Hmm...Okay, I stared at the screen for five minutes, and nothing came to mind. Thatwill happen, and when it does, you can just skip it. However, if you persistin looking for a new idea in the combining of two concepts, youll find one.That is how this process works.Your subconscious mind is powerful. Put two concepts together, assumethere is a connection that will lead to a new idea, and your subconsciouswill find it.
Ideas ExerciseWrite a list of twenty things and start combining them into new creativeconcepts.1. __________________________2. __________________________3. __________________________4. __________________________5. __________________________6. __________________________7. __________________________8. __________________________9. __________________________10. _________________________11. _________________________12. _________________________13. _________________________14. _________________________15. _________________________16. _________________________17. _________________________
18. _________________________19. _________________________20. _________________________Combine the above concepts or things in any way, but just two at a time fornow. That still gives you 188 possible combinations, which could generatehundreds of new ideas.
Lesson Two New ApplicationsThe whole lesson? Find new applications for existing ideas. Now thedetails.I just saw a new local business advertised on TV, a company that uses a dogto find mold in your house. Dogs can be trained to sniff out almost anything.It reminded me of the news story a year ago, about a dog that could detect ifyou had cancer.My first thought was, "I wonder what else they could be used to find?" Thisis a super technique for generating new ideas. Just find new applications forexisting ideas and inventions.By the way, one idea that came to mind was to use dogs to find other pets.They find humans so well, so why not a service to find lost pets? One sniffof the cats favorite rug, and the dog is on the trail.Finding New ApplicationsThis is another technique, which like concept-combination, can be used inall areas to create an endless supply of new ideas. Start with the essence ofthe idea, and look for new applications. Then look at any other factors thatcould be applied in new ways.For example, lets start with the pneumatic tubes that deliver your moneyand papers at bank drive-through windows. The essence is a cartridge thatdelivers things through a tube using air pressure. Could the same thing workfor human transport? Ride "the tube" to the next city? Maybe as an
amusement park ride?Another aspect of the tubes is that they allow several customers to be waitedon at once. Fast food needs that at the drive through. The tubes themselveswould spill drinks, but the idea of multiple lines can be used. Several drive-through windows, radiating out like spokes, at different angles, would allowthree different lines of cars.Beyond BusinessIn demonstrating all of these techniques, it is easy to get stuck on theinvention and business applications. These are just the easiest areas to comeup with new ideas in. That doesnt mean they dont work well in other areasthough.I saw a story about socially withdrawn preschool children. PsychologistRobert OConnor made a short video with 11 scenes. Each showed a solitarychild watching other children participate in an activity. In each, the childjoined the group, and everyone was happy.When he showed the film to severely withdrawn children at variouspreschools, the children immediately began to be sociable with the otherchildren. Their new behavior persisted weeks later, though they saw the filmjust once. Withdrawn children who didnt see the film were as withdrawn asever.Amazing research. You can probably imagine applications for these"coaching films." Im imagining films in which criminals turn their livesaround, to be shown in prisons. If young athletes were shown films in whichit was normal to run four-minute miles, would their times would improve? Iwonder.Ideas ExerciseHere is some practice for you, if you want to get in the habit of using thistechnique.
Think of two new uses for magnets.1. ________________________________________________2. ________________________________________________Beyond bicycles, think of two new uses for pedal-power.1. ________________________________________________2. ________________________________________________If you are familiar with Darwins theory of natural selection, find a newapplication for the concept, but outside of biology._________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________We exercise our bodies, and we exercise our brains. What else can youapply the concept of exercise to?_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Hopefully youre seeing how easy it can be to come up with new ideas. Inthe next lesson Ill show you a very systematic method, using a modifyingword list.
Lesson Three Using An Idea-Generating Word ListUsing a word list is one of the easiest ways to create new ideas.Several times now I have seen giant chairs. The most recent one was in abar, being used by the host of a trivia contest. It was eight feet tall. Someonemade and sold that chair, but how did he think of the idea? The simplestway would be to look at things and ask "what if it was bigger?"That is the essence of the modifying word list. You look at things and ask,"What if it was..." and insert a word from the list. To show the technique inaction, I just looked around the room and chose a table as a test subject. Ilook at the word list and ask "What if it was..."Bigger... If it had leaves that spread from a central pivot, it could be openedup easily into a larger surface, like a hand fan opened horizontally.Movable... The obvious idea here is to put wheels on it. Another possibilityis a line of super light tables that can be carried from room to room easily.Cheaper... I once used an old door as a table. Are there cheap and availablematerials that could be used to make doors?Interesting... Make tables that are covered in family photos (or anything elseyou want). The top would then be encased in acrylic. Easy to clean too!Divided... Four small tables that can be used on their own or connected intoone large table?Subtracted from... Take away the legs and it would be easier to clean under.Could it hang from the ceiling?
Hotter... A warming tray built into the center of the table might beconvenient for keeping meals hot.Happier... Use colors that evoke positive emotions. Make cartoon-coveredtables for day-care centers.Take notes as you do this, and develop or discard the ideas later. Most wordswont give you useful ideas, but dont dismiss them without a few seconds ofthought. Creative solutions can begin with unrelated thoughts. "What if itwas boring?" may seem useless, but then it could lead to the development ofa line of furniture based purely on function: simple and cheap.The Modifying Word ListThe list below is a basic one. Use it as is, but remember that there arehundreds of idea-generating words you could add to it. Any adjectives,descriptive phrases, or words that can change your perspective can bepotentially useful.What if it was...largersmallerfarther awayclosersoonerlatereasiermore difficultsofterharderpoorerricherwetterdrierhigherlowerlonger
More FunThere is another way to use a modifying-word list. This may be even morefun. Start with the word instead of the thing or idea. Then apply themodifying word to everything you can think of.For example, if you start with the word "easier," you just look around atthings and ask, "What if it was easier?"Lights... It would be easier to turn them on in the dark if they were voice-activated.Plants... Sell a line of plants that are almost impossible to kill, for those ofus that cant seem to keep house plants alive.Democracy... Maybe that company that makes the "For Dummies" booksshould add "Democracy For Dummies" to their line. Perhaps secure onlinevoting would make it easier than going to the polls.Brainpower... Three deep breaths always works for me. I bet it would workbetter if I had a small oxygen dispenser.Ideas ExerciseFor each of the following things and concepts, apply the "what if it was"question using the words from the list above. Write down at least a couplenew ideas for each.A Car1. ________________________________________________2. ________________________________________________3. ________________________________________________
War1. ________________________________________________2. ________________________________________________3. ________________________________________________Your Job1. ________________________________________________2. ________________________________________________3. ________________________________________________Part TwoPick a word from the list, like "slower," and apply it to the followingconcept and things. Jot down at least one idea for each. Use another idea-generating word if you prefer.What if a plane was ___________(slower)?______________________________________________________________________________________________________What if education was ___________(slower)?______________________________________________________________________________________________________What if the speed of light was ___________(slower)?
______________________________________________________________________________________________________What if molasses was ___________(slower)?______________________________________________________________________________________________________
Lesson Four Creativity And InnovationMore creativity helps the process of innovation - so develop your creativity.Weve covered three techniques for generating new ideas so far. Hopefullyyou had some fun and found them useful. It can also help to develop yournatural creativity. That is what this lesson is about. How do you becomemore creative? Here is a two-step plan:1. Encourage it.2. Train your brain.Work on these right now, and youll be more creative today.Encouraging CreativityEncouraging creativity will make you more creative. No big surprise there.This principle is true for many things you might want to see more of in yourlife. Encouragement works, but how do you encourage creativity?Start by paying attention to it. The subconscious mind tends to give youmore of what you pay attention to. If you ignore the creative aspects of yourlife, youre telling your subconscious mind theyre unimportant. Consciouslynote when youre creative, and look for opportunities to be creative, andyour subconscious mind will start feeding you more creative ideas.Writing down your ideas is another good way to encourage and increasecreativity. Keep an "idea journal." Do this regularly, and youll start havingmore ideas while you are writing. Small ideas may normally be forgotten,but by writing them down, your subconscious may work on them, and
transform them into something very creative.Encourage greater creativity in yourself by putting creative ideas intopractice. If you paint or write, for example, try anything new, just becauseits new. Even driving a different route to work to see if it is quicker canhelp. The point is to get you mind working outside of its regular patterns.Change your surroundings to encourage creativity. Want more creativity inyour love life? Hike up a mountain with your partner. Need story ideas? Siton a roof to write. For new ideas for your business, take a notebook to thepark and sit by the duck pond. Any change of environment can get yourbrain out of its ruts.Training Your Mind For CreativityEntrepreneurs see potential profit in a situation, because their minds aretrained for that. Lawyers see potential problems, because thats how theirminds are trained. Watch any good comedian and youll notice that she hastrained her mind to look for the "different angle" on everyday things.The ways in which you repeatedly think become habit, and thats how youtrain your mind. If you learn the techniques of creative thinking, use themuntil they are a habit, then creative thinking will be as natural for you aslying is for a politician. Start with these three habits:1. Challenge assumptions.What if restaurants didnt have employees? Visitors pay a machine as theyenter, feed themselves at a buffet, and everything is as automated aspossible, so one owner-operator could run a large restaurant alone.Challenge all you assumptions for practice. Do you really have to go towork? Do swimming pools need water? Can education be a bad thing?2. Change your perspective.A dogs thoughts about your busyness could clue you in to the unnecessarythings you do. Considering dollars-per-day instead of per-hour could giveyou a plan to let employees go home when they finish a quota. Increased
efficiency is likely, and you could adjust daily pay and quotas so both youand employees made more money. See everything from several perspectives.3. Let ideas run wild.Does flying furniture seem silly? It could lead to the concept of a hover-lifter. Just slide the device under furniture and it lifts it with a cushion of air,making for easy moving. Try not to stifle your creativity. Just relax, let ideascome, and know that you can always discard them later.For these thought-patterns to be automatic, you need to use them regularly.It takes several weeks to develop a habit, so write a few of your favoritetechniques on a card and carry it with you. Look it over throughout the dayand apply the techniques to anything. A little work up front, and soon youllhave almost effortless creativity.Ideas ExerciseThink of any crazy idea right now. It should be something that wouldembarrass you to say aloud, like, "What if I could go swimming with mycomputer," or "How could I teach books to fly?" Then think about it for afew minutes and write down any ideas that come to mind.________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Work with one of your ideas until it becomes something plausible. Forexample, swimming with a computer may seem silly. Giving it somethought, though, could lead to the idea of a small waterproof computer thatinstructs a swimmer how to adjust breathing and motions for greaterefficiency. It might be a useful product.The idea here is to prove to yourself that "silly" ideas can lead to better andeven useful ideas. It also just gets you thinking in new ways. This kind ofpractice will help overcome any tendency you might have to discount yourcreative ability.
Lesson Five Creating New Products Based On True NeedsIdentifying true needs is a great route to new product ideas.Have you ever been frustrated with the assembly instructions for somethingyou bought? Or annoyed with the design of something? Good news! Everyfrustration can be the source of new ideas. A service that creates clearassembly and instruction manuals might make good money, for example.Hey, its fun to dream up a hundred new ideas. Its even good exercise forthe brain. Sometimes, though, thats all you get. It may be fun to imagine aninflatable helium chair that lets you float above your home, but can you sellit?Starting With True Needs And DesiresStarting with common and easy-to-understand problems is the surest way tohave not just new, but useful ideas. If you and six of your friends all have asimilar complaint about something, there is a true need for a new idea there.If you run into the same frustration several times, its time for a solution,right?For good ideas that solve real problems, look at what annoys you, frustratesyou, gets in your way, or is difficult. Ask other people what issues they havetoo. If half of your older friends complain about stairs in their houses, itstime for a single floor housing development.I like to demonstrate these techniques with real examples. I also like to do it
as I write, so I can be sure that it works as easily as I say. In this case, Imgoing to think of several annoyances or "issues" Ive had in the last fewdays, and use them to come up with new ideas.Okay, it took me three minutes to come up with the following annoyances.Ill spend a minute or two on each, to see what ideas they stimulate.Problem: Delicate clothes... I want to throw everything in the washer, andthen in the dryer. I dislike digging through to see what cant be washed inhot water, and what cant be put in the dryer. Hmm... If there was a store,lets call it "The Simple Life Store," that sold only clothes that could handleany type of washing and drying, Id shop there.Problem: Forgetting to use what I know... I know how to reduce stress, but Iforget to use the techniques. I even forget to use the memory techniques Iknow! Hmm... Would people pay for a twice weekly call from a "lifecoach?" You explain beforehand what your goals are, and they call to see ifyou are on track, to remind you, and encourage you. Fifteen minutes, $30?Problem: Uncertain car costs... There are a few things that may be goingwrong with my car. The main stress, though, is from the uncertainty. Noproblem for months, and then $700 in brake work out of the blue. Arrgh!Maybe a mechanic could have a set fee-per-mile for any and all maintenanceand repair. Once you sign the contract, you know what your cost will be permile. Or perhaps a monthly charge.Problem: Lack of space... We used to have a fairly small apartment yearsago. Somebody could market a line of furniture that doubles as storagespace. Couches, chairs - even tables might be designed to provide interiorstorage space, and still be attractive. A table than folds up into the wallwhen were done eating might be nice too.Of course, once you identify the problems to be solved, you can combineany of the various problem solving techniques to generate ideas for newproducts or services. You can also use them one by one, to get as manydifferent ideas as you can. "Assumption challenging" will definitely giveyou different ideas than the "add-subtract-change" technique.
Ideas ExerciseWrite down five things that annoy you or cause problems for you. Thenthink of a couple possible solutions for these. Even better, think of solutionsthat can be used by others who face the same issues.Problem or annoyance: _______________________________Possible solutions/ideas: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Problem or annoyance: _______________________________Possible solutions/ideas: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Problem or annoyance: _______________________________Possible solutions/ideas: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Problem or annoyance: _______________________________Possible solutions/ideas: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Problem or annoyance: _______________________________Possible solutions/ideas: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Lesson Six BrainstormingSo far the lessons have been on ways to create ideas on your own. For thislesson, I am reprinting a short article I wrote on brainstorming with others.It is from my web site, www.IncreaseBrainPower.comThe Key To Good BrainstormingHave you been in a brainstorming session where each person just defendedtheir own ideas? Worse is when people dont suggest ideas at all, for feartheyll be attacked. Thats no way to brainstorm. Brainstorming is using thepower of many minds, and ideas should flow freely and trigger other ideas.How do you make that happen?You have to have a good leader to have good brainstorming. The leader isntthere to impose his will, though, but to stop the imposition of anyones will.His role is to stop criticisms, arguments, and even strong opinions, at leastin the first part of the session.A brainstorming session needs to be spontaneous, open and uncritical."Bad" or "silly" ideas can lead to helpful ones, so suggestions have to be leftun-judged at first. To brainstorm effectively, you cant stifle the creativeprocess. The leaders job, then, is to make everyone feel free to suggest anyideas.An Example Of Good BrainstormingThe scenario: your business needs to cut delivery costs. The group throwsout ideas and thoughts. "Lets not deliver," someone suggests, and when
another starts to criticize, you remind him of the rules. "Negotiate lowerrates," somebody says, "Or just find a company with lower rates," anotheradds. Ideas like reducing package weight and charging customers more aresuggested, and lead to other ideas.You keep it civil, take notes, and eventually call a halt to this free-for-allpart of the session. Now its time to evaluate and develop the ideas forwhatever usefulness they may have.To keep the creativity flowing in this stage, have participants defend ordevelop ideas that are not their own. This brings new insight to the idea, andprevents the problem of ego-identification that causes people to get "stuckin a rut" with their own ideas.For example, ask the man who was critical of the idea of not delivering towork with that idea. "We have to deliver," he might start with. Then hethinks for a second and says, "I suppose we could deliver to centraldistribution points instead of to the individual customer. The customer coulddrive a short distance to pick up their order. That might save us onshipping."Someone else suggests that the customers may like the arrangement. Theywould be able to return the product immediately if they were dissatisfied,with no need to pack and ship it. You assign a couple people to look into it,and move on to the other ideas.Good leadership keeps the whole process working. In the last example,youve even used a "bad" idea to come to a possible solution. Thats goodbrainstorming.
Lesson Seven Concentration And BrainpowerImproving concentration and otherwise preparing for an idea-generatingsession is always a good idea. Thats what this lesson is aboutBetter ConcentrationWhen you work on something, concentration is automatic, until youredistracted. The distractions are often your own constant thoughts. Withnothing interfering, you have more complete concentration, so heres amethod to remove distractions, to control your wandering mind.Are you expecting something bad to happen? Is an argument going on justbelow the surface of your consciousness? Are you worried about something,or in pain? Find everything you can. This self-observation is crucial, and itwill get easier as you do it more. Youll start to see how many things aregoing on in your own head, distracting you.Deal with these mind-irritants. Make a phone call thats on your mind, takean aspirin, apologize to whomever you were fighting with. Write things ontomorrows to-do list, to get them off your mind. If theres nothing you cando right now, tell yourself that.Do this exercise a few times, and youll find it becomes easier to recognizewhat is just below the surface, irritating you and sapping your power ofconcentration. Set these mind irritations aside, and you will think moreclearly.I have read that Stephen King writes with loud music on. What distractseach of us, or doesnt, is obviously personal and somewhat unique. Do
something about whatever it is that takes your mind away from the task athand. Turn off the TV, feed your empty stomach, or turn your desk awayfrom the window.When you take care of the external and the internal distractions, youll beable to focus your attention and brain power like a spotlight. Watch a childbuilding a sand castle sometime, and youll see that the power ofconcentration really is natural.Brain PowerAnother thing that affects your ability to come up with new ideas is yourbrainpower in general. There are some quick things you can do to boost this.I wont get into the explanations here. Instead, heres a short list of thingsthat work.Have a cup of coffee or tea.Take three deep breaths.Sit up straight.Breath with your mouth closed.Listen to Mozarts sonata for Two Pianos in D Major, K. 448.Walk for ten minutes.Take Ginkgo Biloba capsules.Talk about something you love (try this one - it really wakes up the brain).Train Your BrainAll these techniques become more useful as they become habits. It takes afew weeks to develop a habit, so try to use a technique regularly for almosta month. Then notice what happens when you sit down and look at a
bicycle.If youve trained your mind in "assumption challenging," youllautomatically ask things like, "Are wheels necessary?" "Does it have to gooutside?" What if the "bike" was indoors, and pedaling it ran a videoscreen? You could "steer" through endless different scenes.Time to put the lessons to work, and start creating those new ideas.
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How To Have New IdeasA Short Course By Steve Gillman Brought To You By http://www.IncreaseBrainpower.com And http://www.999Ideas.com (The End)