Have you ever participated in a brainstorm, generated tonnes of ideas and then thought “what’s next”?

It’s pretty common really; once the brainstorm is over the sheer volume of ideas that need to be addressed is intimidating at the least. That is why in the face of the big wall of ideas the idea assassins come to the fore, slashing, analyzing and killing everything that’s just a little bit interesting until we end up with the same stuff we always done.

So how do we get from the great wall of ideas to a select number of challenging ideas with real potential?

Well, to start with we keep our minds open…chances are the ideas that seem doable the first time you hear them, seem so because they have been done! If an idea feels too freaky, let it percolate for a day or two and it may start to look interesting.

Grab your ideas and start looking for some perspective; it’s time to sort through your thinking.

  • First, find the ideas that feel pretty standard and place them in a group (these ideas are your baseline and shouldn’t be considered for more than small scale innovation).
  • Second, find the ideas that are totally scary and strange and place them in a group (these are the ideas that are at the edge, they create the boundary for where we are not prepared to go).
  • Third, find the ideas somewhere in the middle, not standard but not totally weird and place them in a group (these ideas are your targets for real innovation – big enough to transform, not so big as to be too risky).

Sorting through your ideas in terms of craziness is a great way to find the sweet spot somewhere in the middle.

It’s how we get from brainstorm to brainwave.

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Written by Lisa Smith

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Lisa is a professional thinker dedicated to helping people unlock their innate creativity and to empower them to think differently – for themselves. She is passionate about building innovative cultures and about harnessing and engaging talent to create thinking communities. Lisa holds an MBA, specialising in organisational change and innovation, which forms the nucleus of her work. She relishes opportunities to share the Minds at Work thinking strategies with government bodies, socially responsible corporate, educators, community groups and farmers, helping them to turn their big ideas into realities.