We aren’t going to sugarcoat this for you. It’s tough to come up with fresh and unique product ideas on a regular basis, no matter how many brilliant people you have on your team. But, it is a critical business objective, because the ability to innovate and reinvent is what differentiates the winners from everyone else in today’s fast-forward economy.
That’s why you can’t just wait for inspiration to strike – not if you want to generate product ideas in a sustainable and efficient way. Instead, you need a productive brainstorming process that involves actively seeking out inventive ideas, one that reliably yields a steady stream of fresh concepts that your company can use to innovate and grow. Here’s how to get started:
1) Get the basics right.
Almost everyone agrees that there are a few fundamentals that invariably set your brainstorming process up for success. First, start in the morning – when the brain is well-rested, alert, and ready to be creative. Next, include up to ten team members in the group and provide them with snacks. These steps may be basic, but they set the stage for an effective and fun brainstorming session.
2) Establish the rules up front.
Reserve judgment. Never criticize. Keep an open mind. Maintain a central focus. Embrace crazy ideas. These are the kinds of rules that make for a productive brainstorming session. Why? Because they move your team into a creative headspace and they proactively address barriers to inspiration – like criticism, fear, and judgments. Once you’ve established the set of rules that your company most strongly believes in, showcase them in the conference room so that all participants know what’s expected of them throughout the idea generation process.
3) Identify your business challenge.
Open your brainstorming session by clarifying your business challenge and identifying a common goal. For example, if you want to replace or improve the vacuum, your challenge would be, “How can we invent a new floor-cleaning device?”
Next, have your team list assumptions that are associated with that challenge. For example, let’s say an existing assumption is that the target market for high-end vacuum cleaners is professional men and women between the ages of 25 and 45. Ask your team to consider how to create a floor-cleaning device for individuals outside of that core demographic, such as single men in their twenties and thirties or senior citizens.
Now that you’ve set the foundation for your brainstorming process, the next step is to put your session into motion.
Ready to jump right into your ideation process for a new product or a new feature of your product? Download the Physical to Digital Guide to learn how you and your organization can take your brainstorming process from the physical world to the digital world, seamlessly sharing ideas and information with the click of a mouse.