An idea signals the beginning of the entire innovation process. It is important to induce changes that are necessary for an organization’s improvement. Without ideas, nothing navigates an innovation strategy, and no value for either the company or the market can be generated.

However, it’s a numbers game. Innovation can be seen as focused on things new to the company, which is why these ideas don’t have to be ground-breaking.

Rival businesses can make it hard for organizations to come up with high-quality ideas, but a systematic and methodological idea generation process can kickstart a whole new level of innovation which can boost a company’s success. 

In this article, we will talk about idea generation methods other than brainstorming. We will go through a series of techniques that businesses can utilize for the production and collection of ideas. 

Why is idea generation important for business?

Idea generation involves making, initiating, and disseminating theoretical, palpable, and perceptible ideas.

It is a fraction of the idea management funnel that centers upon the creation of optimal solutions based on a specific market’s actual problems, including the development of opportunities based on their needs.

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With this, ideas get to shape the advancement of a business, thereby fostering progress. New ideas can lead companies to stand out instead of just thriving in the competition.

Ideas allow organizations to explore new opportunities and create positive experiences via innovative products and services — an event that helps companies remain significant, all by making a difference.

What are some idea generation techniques aside from brainstorming?

Most of the time, the first thing that comes to mind when talking about idea generation is brainstorming. Brainstorming sessions, however, are not only time-consuming but are often ineffective.

Predominantly, this traditional method only involves a limited number of people (who are usually composed of the same team every session), hence decreasing the range of different perspectives that could have been used to generate a supreme idea.

For this reason, we compiled here other idea generation techniques that you can do aside from brainstorming:

1. Mind Mapping

Mind mapping involves linking different information or ideas together. It helps people gain a better understanding of a subject’s intricacy. 

In mind maps, thoughts are written down and connections are established between them. Lines and curves are drawn to illustrate its association, and a chain of relationships is made.

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This technique is also used in problem-solving, note-taking, and project planning. 

In making mind maps, a problem, a word, or a phrase is written in the middle, and everything that comes to mind, or is related to it (particularly potential solutions, causes, effects, etc.), is positioned around its corners, surrounding the keywords in the middle. 

This structure allows participants to understand the idea as a whole, identify blind spots, and incorporate their insights and opinions from time to time. 

To perform this task more efficiently, mind mapping software solutions are used. With it, the entire process becomes conveniently digitized. The entire process is done faster, and communication over concepts is a lot easier to manage.

Furthermore, additional features like collaborative tools make integration with other applications possible. This allows teams to share their inputs, as its bonus features make sharing diagrams easier through documents and presentations.

2. Storyboarding

Creating a storyboard is another way of creatively introducing data and information. Words, quotes, pictures, and other necessary information are obtained from either the participants or by doing research. 

The information gathered is then visually manipulated into a specific order or format in an effort to identify if connections among these pieces of information can be made to narrate a story or communicate a general idea. 

As the story is further refined and modified to achieve its purpose, the final story illustrates how an organization’s ideas work alongside each other to solve a particular problem or accomplish innovation. 

A story is then formed to see how these ideas work alongside each other — an effort made to identify if connections among this information can be made possible.

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Boards, a live collaboration tool by Accept Mission, intends to make storyboarding hassle-free. People can join the storyboarding session online and collaborate live. 

Its key features include: 

  • Drag and drop to classify items (ideas, problems, and solutions)
  • Adding likes and comments
  • Availability on ‘touch’ devices like tablets, iPads, and even large smart screens
  • Retainment of content even after the collaboration session 
  • Full integration with other Accept Mission tools for follow-up and execution of ideas
  • Creation of new boards in just seconds, inviting colleagues instantly, and collaborating real-time

With this, organizations will be able to foster people engagement by:

  • Facilitating a system to inspire, add, and share ideas instantly
  • Building a deeper analysis to solve and categorize all types of challenges
  • Developing and enhancing strategies, obtaining important insights, and receiving feedback 

Learn more about how the Accept Mission’s features that can help with storyboarding.

3. SCAMPER

The SCAMPER technique involves seven actions to implement critical thinking by refining existing concepts, ideas, and processes in solving problems to come up with favorable solutions. 

These seven actions help organizations spark thoughts and generate ideas through different approaches that encourage people to think about ways of creating new products, concepts, ideas, and processes by improving existing ones.

The mnemonic does not really define the order of actions to follow. Your team is not restricted to work in a sequential manner while working hard between each of these thinking techniques.

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SCAMPER stands for:

  1. Substitute: The substitution method includes replacing a fragment of your product, concept, or process with a specific alternative to acquire a greater end result. 
  2. Combine: This method examines ideas that can be integrated for a more impactful and effective solution.
  3. Adapt: Adaptation refers to the evaluation of current processes to identify which parts are in need of improvements and extensive attention. 
  4. Modify: To modify an idea means to thoroughly analyze problems and opportunities to achieve progress in every aspect of the business, especially in innovating products and services.
  5. Put to another use: This technique centers around utilizing ideas and existing solutions in other areas other than its current purpose, including a review of its possible benefits, once implemented on other parts of the business. 
  6. Eliminate: Elimination refers to the removal of one or more parts of a concept to see if it gives a better outcome.
  7. Reverse: To reverse means to backpedal on interchangeable components of an idea, a concept, or a process.

4. Idea Challenge

An idea challenge focuses on giving out time-limited challenges that respond to a problem or an opportunity by generating creative solutions and other innovative ways around a specific theme.

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It enables companies to devise questions and problems to collect insights from a particular set of participants. However, before setting it up, it is important to clearly understand the results to expect, and what to do with the information obtained.

The things to consider when organizing an idea challenge are the following:

  • Theme
  • Participants
  • Responsibilities
  • Prize 
  • Time
  • Channels

This method is an open innovation tactic that will enable you to gather ideas from a large group of people. Fortunately, organizing an innovation challenge is easier than you think even if there are some aspects that make it a bit hard to manage.

5. Role Playing

From the name of the technique itself, role-playing takes on scenarios through various perspectives. It includes acting out situations that are observed during the research phase of the innovation process.

It works for both team-based and user-end idea generation processes.

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Just like other role plays, people play the persona of a likely user or any other person whose experience relates to the session’s objectives (a service provider, a client, or anybody from the upper management). 

It aims to perceive how a certain persona may think, feel, and react towards a certain idea. 

In comparison to other idea generation methods, role-playing enables natural, realistic, and unconstrained responses. It creates numerous scenarios that can withdraw diverse ideas from different participants.

Moreover, role-playing also stimulates creativity, especially in terms of problem-solving.

6. Reverse Thinking

Reverse thinking is a method that strives to come up with ideas that aren’t normally done. It provides unconventional solutions that avoid and identify possible mistakes pertaining to the implementation of ideas collected via research.

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With this kind of approach, knowing and understanding the DONTs in every situation is just as essential as knowing the DOs.

Reverse thinking also entertains the opposite of logical responses when solving problems. It may seem confusing at first but the production of ideas for the negative side of things might surprisingly come in handy at some point.

7. Brainwriting

Brainwriting is an excellent way to encourage creativity, share new ideas, and generate innovative solutions.

In brainwriting, those who are too shy or reluctant to speak are given the chance to air out their insights. Participants are asked to write their ideas on solving specific problems or handling opportunities on sheets of paper for a few minutes.

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Somebody else reads whatever is on that paper and incorporates ideas of their own. This activity continues for a specific amount of time until the sheets are collected and are posted for discussion.

This procedure gives an equal opportunity for everybody to share their insights on the things that matter most. It creates a vast domain of ideas from a careful formulation and addition of thoughts from every single person who participated in the activity.

Once again, Boards from Accept Mission can make the whole process easier. It is a tool that’s designed to connect different departments together to effectively collaborate on ideas and solutions.

8. Thinking Hats

The thinking hats technique makes use of six different personas that participants are ought to live in a role play.

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These roles are:

  • Optimism
  • Emotion
  • Creativity
  • Management
  • The Problem
  • The Devil’s Advocate

It’s still like role-play, but with clear and definite scopes for each person to act and tackle. These roles come up with ways in which groups can approach innovation and react to ideas in a cohesive and comprehensive manner.

Although these roles establish boundaries on how participants may take on situations, it pushes everybody in the room to think harder at the same time.

9. Analogical Thinking

Analogical thinking solves problems by thinking laterally.

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As analogy by itself means comparing two things by their known similarities, this technique focuses on applying information gathered from previous problems in dealing with present circumstances with the same context.

It utilizes ideas, concepts, and processes that are pre-validated, which might make it a little unideal for companies because of how common and unchallenging it is to do.

10. Social Listening

Social listening includes the feedback of customers in generating innovative ideas. It taps into a company’s communication lines with its users, seeking out their opinions with regards to their products and services.

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This technique is utilized by brands to track, analyze, and respond to conversations about their business on social media.

It is a vital part of audience research that involves monitoring keywords, rival companies, and other related information on various media channels.

As social media monitoring focuses on metrics, social listening zeroes in on applying data obtained from the feedback, feelings, and opinions of a specific target market.

Pick Out the Best Ideas

Now that you are done learning about idea generation techniques, you can start picking out the best ideas so you can begin turning them into projects. 

Other organizations utilize a lot of platforms to achieve this. Fortunately, with Accept Mission, you won’t have to jump from one tool to another.

Next steps: Our platform allows companies to perform the entire innovation process with ease. Team members from around the world can share their insights and collaborate with everyone effectively — from boards, roadmap, and execution.

Start your idea generation process with Accept Mission and discover innovation strategies with us. 

Learn more about what Accept Mission has to offer by going on a feature tour.