tips for the ideation process

Is your idea running out of steam?

By Mathew Love

Do you remember a moment when you had a big “aha” idea?

Remember how it made you feel like you’re seeing everything so clearly? There were likely endorphins kicking in and the excitement began building for how your idea can make things in life so much better. Its the feeling of the start of something new.

 

Just you and your idea against the world.

 

Then, despite your best intentions, reality kicks in.

 

As in any other relationship you’ve had and maintained throughout your life, your relationship with your idea or project takes hard work as well as open and honest feedback. Sometimes, this feedback may lead you to the stark realization that, as hard as you’re trying to make things work, things between you and your idea just aren’t clicking anymore.

 

And then, the questions start ringing through your head. Is it me? Have I done something wrong? Where was the exact moment when things started going a little pear-shaped? Instead of breaking your heart trying to come up with reasons for this void in love between you and your idea, rather step into action mode and start fixing things.

 

As certified and clinical feedback experts, here’s what we prescribe:

 

Bring up a few old memories

Try to recall the good times and think about where it all began. What was the purpose of your idea or project in the beginning? Do you remember the problem you were trying to solve in developing and working on it? It may not seem like it, but sometimes going back to the start can help you put things into perspective. It can also help you remember what your idea was all about in the beginning, and hopefully reignite that passion you had to initially get it off the ground.

Finding and rediscovering the original purpose can give your mind the freedom to backtrack and explore new routes, new approaches and different paths to explore to achieving your idea, without all the feeling of being on a road to nowhere.

 

Bring in an outside expert

If you’re the only person with an insight into your idea or project, your view may be too one-sided and that’s detrimental to the success of it. In this case, we recommend bringing in some external feedback in the form of a colleague, potential team member, family member or even your closest friend. You can use innovative feedback platforms, such as BigTeam, to make this process of gathering feedback or even just getting an outside view easier.

You’ll want to ask these people what their initial thoughts are (exploratory questions) and why the idea is good (guided positive) or bad (guided negative). Because people are often sensitive to being over critical, you can ask them to put themselves in your shoes (projective technique). What would they do to rekindle the idea?

 

Try something new

Okay, so you’ve tried to get an external view and you still don’t feel the spark between you and your idea? It’s time to spice things up a bit. Try something new with the idea or project. Change up a few processes, play around with the look and feel of it, adapt the messaging, use different colours—whatever it takes. Changing things up a little may help get something to click and could set you back on track to achieving your goal with your idea or project. Just make sure you’re not straying too far from the initial solution you were trying to create.

This process was the foundation of brainstorming. Allowing new ideas to freely flow into your process, to build on the original idea and to explore new avenues without fears of having a “bad idea” or failing. It opens your mind and will hopefully get you unstuck.

 

Don’t be afraid to walk away

The heading says it all, really. It’s important to know and realize when an idea or project has been exhausted without success. It’s important to know when the effort is no longer worth the reward. Although sentiment may cause you to hold on to a project or idea, it could be doing more harm than good. For example, you could rather be spending your time and energy on a solution that has momentum and purpose. After you’ve gathered the necessary data and information needed to ultimately make this decision, it may just back up your gut feeling to walk away. And that’s okay.

An idea or project that’s lost its steam or momentum is by no means dead in the water. There are many ways to revive it and set it back on track to achieve the goals you wanted at the start. However, it’s also important to remember that there’s only so much you can do to make something work and that holding on sometimes leads to more damage than success. Whatever your decision is though, just make sure that it’s ultimately an educated one based on information you’ve been able to collect and collate—information that’s largely gathered from feedback.

 

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