"No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world."
--- Robin Williams
Taking a long walk down by the edge of the river to sit and contemplate the next moves in business and sit for a few hours writing down great ideas with the sound of the rushing water in the distant and the birds chirping... Oh Horse Pucky! Who really has time for this kind of luxury?
For most of us, the only quiet time we really have is early morning, late at night, or during those rare moments of a vacation. But we still need to find new, creative ways of doing business. Sometimes those ideas come while driving to work, in the shower, at workshops and seminars, or even during sleep. In order to generate even more great ideas, we have to work our idea muscles on a regular basis.
"Every time you tear a leaf off a calendar, you present a new place for new ideas and progress."
--- Charles Kettering
One great way to come up with really good ideas is to force yourself to keep an idea journal and write in it on a regular basis. This requires energy and it is work-- at first, but then it gets easier. To begin, take a spiral notebook and jot down three ideas that come to mind. That's it. Just three ideas and close the book. The point of the exercise is that doing this on a regular basis increases the strength of our idea muscles and helps us to come up with some real winners.
"Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people."
--- Eleanor Roosevelt
When you find an idea that really piqued your interest and seems really doable, bring it to your team, mentors, family, or whoever to get their input. Take all advice, comments, and suggestions as constructive and don't allow negativity to enter into the discussion. Follow your gut and play out the idea until it generates great revenue, improves business productivity, sells more products, or even dies on the shop floor. You will never really know unless you unroll the idea and play with it.
"The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones."
--- John Maynard Keynes
After the first couple of weeks of daily ideas generation, which will become very taxing, increase the number of your ideas to five. This is very challenging, but it really stretches your mind and makes you more creative. Jotting down five ideas a day in your journal can take five minutes or one hour, depending on how quickly the ideas come to you. Really focusing on idea generation can become a fun habit, but it must be followed regularly or your idea muscle will atrophy and become weak.
Keep the ideas flowing and increase the number of ideas you generate per day every two weeks until you get to ten ideas a day. Some of them may never get implemented. Some may be so outlandish and silly that you discard them for now. But keep in mind that your journal may hold ideas that you can go back to weeks, months and even years from now. You will find that your idea journal will be a great resource for you and your business and even for areas outside of your business life.
"Ideas are like pizza dough, made to be tossed around."
--- Anna Quindlen