In a previous article, we talked about one method that you can implement to enhance innovative thinking called re-expression. Today we will look at two more ideation methods you can implement in your brainstorming sessions with a team (or on your own).

Revolution Method

The way we approach and think about challenges is often limited by the attributes or rules we associate with the issue. For example, if we are creating an innovative fitness app, we would think about how we view fitness in our own minds, or how our own schemas define it. If you read the previous article, you will remember that schemas are our concept of how things work or how we view a topic and that our own personal assumptions can block our vision at times, even though ideas are so close to us. But recognizing those ideas can be tricky at times, so implement the revolution method to help draw some of those ideas out that we have a hard time tapping into. Here’s how:

  • Start by writing down as many attributes or rules you can think about regarding the issue you are focusing on.  If it is a fitness app, the rules could be something along the lines of:
    • We move our bodies to “do” fitness.
    • Fitness takes place at certain places, like in fitness centers.
    • We do fitness to stay healthy and in shape.
  • Once you have generated a list of as many rules as you can think of, you begin challenging these rules by asking questions. Ask “what if” questions, like:
    • “What if you did not need to go to a certain place to do fitness, like a fitness center?”
    • “What if fitness came to you?”
  • Run through as many “what if” questions as you can think of. Are you able to generate concrete ideas in response to them? Are your answers able to inspire other ideas?

Challenging rules (like above) is a good way to create a new obstacle to work around as it has forced you to create a new rule that encourages you to think about things in a new way. This requires you to think differently, generating more ideas.

Random Links Method

Another ideation method that may prove to be helpful for your company brainstorming sessions is the Random Links Method. This method enables you to think more broadly about the issue you are challenged with and is also a great means for stretching your imagination, enabling you to tap into more possibilities. Here is how to apply this method:

  • Choose a random item and force some sort of connection to the topic or issue you are working on. Back to the fitness topic, an example could be forcing a connection between fitness and a case for glasses. What associations and attributes do you relate to a case for glasses? Is it something you can bring with you to work out? Cases can open and close and also protect something fragile. They fit in your hand.
  • Next, you try to force that connection. For example, what if you create a fitness app that users can hold in their hand, or an app for people who are fragile (such as those feeling depressed, inured, sick) to help them recover or feel better, enabling them to get their strength back.

This method can take you to some interesting and inspiring points and can be a lot of fun as well.

When we attempt to take on new challenges and think about new information, we are limited on our own by the schemas, or the mental slots and bins that we categorize items into. We often overlook opportunities to generate new ideas or information, which is why these methods are great – they challenge your usual ways of thinking! Have fun with them!