There are two broad ways to generate new ideas.

The first is to create new ideas via say a brainstorming session or my new Switch Thinking process.

This approach is slow, can be risky and waste time and effort.

But it can also produce an occasional big, new idea that might delight customers, grow revenue and surprise your competition.

There is also another way.

I call it Idea Searching.

As the name suggests it is a deliberate attempt to search for new and interesting ideas.

This has the advantage that you can experience the idea itself and determine whether it works or not.

This means that it is less wasteful, lowers the risk and often is easier to convince others of the idea’s merit.

Another advantage is that consumers can get the idea quickly if it exists in another context or situation.

The disadvantage is that it may not be an original idea or solution but perhaps originality is over-rated anyway.

For example:

I recently ordered an avocado on toast breakfast at a new cafe.

To my surprise the toast arrived separately from the avocado.

This meant that I could determine how much avocado i could put on each piece of toast.

I felt empowered and in control.

Does this sound familiar?

Think of self service in a supermarket or self check in at an airport.

Or do you qualify for a loan for example.

Customers are front and centre and are engaged in the total purchasing experience.

Now this core idea (i.e. empowering customers) can be applied across many different categories and industries.

What is needed in the Idea Searching approach is an openness to new ideas.

Idea are everywhere, you just need to see them.

It is why for example that in my innovation workshops I send participants out with a partner on an Idea Safari.

The goal is to spend an half an hour visiting various shops searching for say 3 new ideas (however small).

The team then come back and show the rest of the group and discuss how they might be able to apply these ideas to their brand or business.

In summary:

To generate new ideas requires two complementary approaches.

Generate ideas and

Search for new ideas (they are everywhere).

Using both of these strategies can keep you ahead in the innovation race and continue to grow and prosper.

And have lots of fun in the process.


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