When I have to come up with new ideas it happens to me quite often that I think, think, and think … nothing. Only obvious ideas come to my mind. Then I recall Leonardo da Vinci. In the process of looking for new ideas he searched the inspiration in the stains on the walls, patterns in the clouds, ashes, mud etc. He maintained that the connection of the challenge with random subjects produces new insights.
Also Edward de Bono presented a similar technique called Random entry. With a random entry we break obvious thinking patterns. The process is simple:
- Choose thinking challenge which needs new ideas.
- Find a random entry (word, picture, sound).
- Use the random entry as an inspiration for new ideas.
It is not important what the random entry is. It is important that it is truly random.
An example: we would like to find new ways to recognize employee performance. Random word for this challenge will be “kitchen.” Here are some associations that may come to our mind:
- Kitchen – eating – have a monthly recognition dinner with the CEO,
- Kitchen – toaster – pop into employees offices unexpectedly with a prize,
- Kitchen – activity centre – arrange to have many colleagues surround and thank employees for good work,
- Kitchen – chef – provide free catering service for a week.
Simple and efficient technique. So, next time try this instead of fighting with your brains when the same ideas keep coming up over and over.