Generate new ideas

The best way to find a good idea is to have lots of them and throw the bad ones away.

Good ideas are such a central part of innovation that it can be easy to think that finding them is more important than any other aspect of the innovation process. The truth is that ideas are everywhere and easy to produce. The real challenge is how to spot the ones with potential, how to develop them and how to bring them to life.

Suspending criticism and judgement is critical in the process of generating new ideas. The process should also be a collaborative one, and there are many methods that can support you to work with others effectively. Prompts for innovation are usually so complex that it is unlikely any small group of people will hold all the knowledge needed to understand all aspects of the problem or the expertise to create a solution.

Many common methods for generating ideas bring people together and are based on the principles of self-organisation and collaboration. Examples include open space events, unconferences, hackathons, barcamps and social innovation camps.

The best ideas for innovation may exist beyond your known contacts and networks. Opening up idea generation through prizes and awards can attract new kinds of innovators and harness fresh thinking. Digital technologies are also helping organisations crowdsource ideas from their staff and the wider population.