3 Tips for Fostering New Ideas
Where do good ideas come from? Are ideas born from an epiphany that wakes you in the middle of the night? Or after hours of pouring over analytics and big data?
While it may feel as though inspiration strikes at random, research shows that’s not the case. Truly good ideas actually come from exposure to other people outside the usual environment providing new and different voices and ideas. In fact, in laboratories, science breakthroughs rarely come from the microscope. Instead, they surface at the conference table as researchers discuss their most recent data, questions and challenges. This process happens over a period of time as these new ideas “fade into view.”
All organisations – whether corporate or not-for-profit – rely on new ideas. So, how do you create an environment where new ideas can incubate and ultimately come to fruition? Here are three tips that will position you – and your organisation – for idea-generating success:
- Noodling isn’t idling. It can be easy for organisations to get tunnel vision when searching for the ‘perfect’ idea. In reality, inspired ideas require time to develop; sometimes it’s necessary to build the foundation for an idea and step away from the process. Give yourself time and permission to have that fresh idea bubble up. For example, if your organsation is seeking a new way to attract media attention, read all you can about your issue and your audience and think about what makes sense today. Then, step away and focus on something else. Let inspiration find you.
- Bring together strange bedfellows. If you’re looking for a new approach, bring in people from other departments, organisations or even industries. While regularly networking with these other professionals, you’ll hear their challenges, thoughts and ideas, and may find the connection or angle you’ve been looking for to promote your issue.
- Don’t be afraid of the edit or delete button. Good ideas and new concepts evolve over time and take cultivation. Preparing a draft and then scrapping most or all of it is not failure. Like a potter working with clay, the basis of the idea is there, but it must be worked and shaped into its ultimate form.
Your next great idea is already percolating in your mind. A fresh perspective, whether it be from a new colleague or, literally, a new environment, can help the idea find its way to its birth.