Project management teams must be able to creatively come up with new ideas that go with the territory. Being a bottomless supply of great ideas can be difficult. Thinking about things in a different way is just plain hard sometimes. We can blame our human nature for this because we are wired to fit new challenges and information into our existing understanding of the world as opposed to challenging that understanding. Reaching a point where you can get out of your normal way of thinking and come up with truly innovative ideas is hard but it is possible. Below is one great ideation methods you can employ to enhance your innovative thinking.

Typically, people who work within the same business or come from the same background often use the same words to describe ideas and issues. These commonly used words become connected to associations. For example, if we tell you to come up with new ideas that will help to improve a nutrition app while making it stand out against competition, you will probably stop and think about the word “nutrition” and any associations you may have with it as well as how you achieve good nutritional health. Your associations may be somewhat different from your competitors. You may think of eating organic fruits and vegetables, following a gluten-free diet or implementing many whole foods while calorie counting.

Re-Expression is helpful in re-wiring your thought process, enabling you to think about a challenge in a new and different way that is not only different from what you may have been previously thinking but is also different from what your competitors are seeking. This process can actually be somewhat fun. Below are three ways you can get a better grasp on the subject.

Re-Express with Different Words

You can re-express with different words by coming up with as many words or metaphors as possible that relate to the issue (or service or product) that you seek to innovate. The words you come up with do not have to mean the same thing but can simply be something related. For example, for “nutrition,” you can use the words “healthy eating” or “health,” then think about any associations you have for each of those new words.

Re-Express in Different Senses

You can also re-express by thinking about an issue with different senses, such as drawing it, building it (in blocks or Legos) or acting it out. By expressing something with different senses, you will open up your mind to see connections you did not see previously. The main goal is to figure out how they can inspire your original issue, asking yourself why each connection connects to the issue.

Re-Express with a Different Perspective

Try to imagine yourself being someone other than you – someone with sensibilities that differ from yours. What would they think about the issue? What would a 7-year-old think about eating healthy or a person with diabetes? Would they find it to be challenging, boring or passion-inducing? Keep in mind that your assumptions do not need to accurately reflect how other people would think – the primary point is to get you imagining things from a different perspective to enhance your innovative thinking so you can see issues differently.