A Quick Guide to Ideation and Getting Your Ideas Off the Ground
So…where does an idea come from? For many people, ideas can be derived from past experiences, in person events or things you may have witnessed. When we need a creative solution or have an objective that needs to be met, our brains get to work. By using our imagination, our brain references these past experiences and memories, in an attempt to produce different ideas and creative solutions. In this quick guide we will discuss tips and tricks, to getting your team thinking outside the box, and getting your ideas off the ground.
Before diving into a brainstorm, make time to discuss your topic with your team and identify the problem and objective. Make sure your team understands the client’s goals and asks, before getting their thoughts down on paper. From this list of goals and objectives, you will want to make a checklist that you will test your strongest ideas with later.
From there, have your teammates break off on their own, and scribble down ten thought starters. By doing so, team members are less likely to be influenced by each other’s ideas. Not only will this give everyone a chance to put their ideas down on paper, without having to speak out in a room full of creative ping pong, it will also give your team tons of material to start with.
When the group brainstorm starts, you may find that the initial ideas that float around the room will suggest the obvious themes or solutions. Several ideas may even overlap, making them fairly similar. These ideas are not necessarily bad, they just happen to be overdone within that industry, making them unoriginal. However, if everyone comes to the brainstorm prepared with a list of ten ideas, your team will have a variety of material to choose from, and there are bound to be several unique thought starters within the pool.
“I have the perfect idea”!
There will be times when you finally stumble onto an idea and say to yourself, this is it! Remember, by settling for one idea too soon, can accidentally cut off its creative potential. It is important to continue to challenge your idea and push its limits. It can also be hard to accept feedback and criticism, that is needed to improve a concept when we fall in love with our ideas too soon. When working through the brainstorm process, it is important to keep an open mind and be willing to explore all options.
Getting off the Ground: The Venn Diagram Method
If you are having trouble getting off the ground, and generating material to work with, try the venn diagram method (my personal favorite).
Start off by drawing two large circles that overlap in the center. Within the left circle, write every noun that comes to mind when thinking about your topic. In the right circle, write down every adjective and verb that you can think of that also relates to your topic. In the center, write down a variety of settings, activities, and “wild cards” (these do not necessarily have to relate to your topic).
From these three pools, try to make as many combinations as possible, even if they don’t make sense right away. Write them down in a separate piece of paper, and put a star next to your strongest combinations. From there, try writing them out in turning them into full sentences.
Task/ Topic: A company is asking for you to design an experience to promote a candy brand in the month of October.
Left Circle: Spider
Center: Claw Machine
Right Circle: Crave
Explanation Sentence: A hungry spider that descends down from its web within a claw machine, hoping to snatch up candy to satisfy it’s cravings.
This is a great starting point that has enough material to work with and grow. Now take your sentence one step further by turning it into a creative concept. If you need a boost, try asking yourself the following questions to help you think outside the box:
- Can anything be exaggerated?
- How can you relate the five senses? Or even the sixth sense?
- Can you flip your audience’s perspective?
- Can you add something that doesn’t belong?
- What’s the unique factor?
- Is there purpose or meaning behind the materials?
- Does the idea tell a story?
By asking these questions, we are focusing on the creative dynamic and challenging our idea to be different. When we push ourselves further, we become more creative and explore options needed to generate unique ideas.
A human sized claw machine from the perspective of a spider with a sweet tooth. Your mission as the spider, is to descend down from your web, acting as the claw and collect as many boxes of halloween candy as possible, before having to retreat back up to your web.
How do you know when you have a strong idea?
- Nobody else is doing it.
- It serves its purpose in a unique and precise way.
- It’s straightforward and easy for your audience to comprehend.
- There is a drive for audience participation & share-ability
Testing Your Idea
Once you have crafted a truly unique idea, you will want to put it to the test, and check it against your list of objectives and goals. A strong idea should have a nice flow and shouldn’t feel forced. If you are finding pot holes in your idea that could use work, host a second meeting with your team to discuss solutions. Don’t be afraid to go back to the drawing board and revise your idea as needed. The best ideas typically go through several revisions and evolve overtime.
An idea can only go as far as you allow it to, which is why it is important to always push yourself and challenge your ideas further. Even here at GDX Studios, some of the latest nights, and exhausted brainstorms have led to amazing events such as TBS Wrecked Island, The It House, and American Idol. If there is one piece of advice I can leave you with, it is to find inspiration everywhere, and in everything you do, you never know what will trigger a creative idea, that leads to something remarkable.