How can you have better ideas? How can you get those you work with to share their ideas more freely? Do you have a process for idea generation?
Last week I went to the Learn Inbound conference in Dublin. The problem with conferences is that I always return home with a massive todo list.
So here I am staring at that list and one thing is popping out at me.
“Have better ideas”
No biggie then!
Stacy MacNaught from Tecmark talked about having better ideas and her ideation process made its way to the top of my must do list.
The message? Be more structured with idea creation and you’ll have better ideas that get better results.
Idea Generation Techniques from Learn Inbound
These are just a few of the notes I took on the day. You can view her full presentation here.
1. Write a brief
Stacey talked about writing a huge and detailed brief outlining:
2. Audience Info
3. Examples of key pieces you’d like to emulate
4. Key limitations
As a small business owner or Solopreneur you might not go into this much detail but it’s still important to outline your answers to these key bits of info.
If you know what your objective is and who you are trying to reach you will start to come up with ideas. I’ve lost touch of the number of times I’ve come up with a long list of content ideas when working on customer personas with a client. Adding your objectives and examples from others into the mix is bound to generate even more and give you a pool of ideas to draw from.
2. Ask for bad ideas
‘No idea is a bad idea’ is a cliche and I’m sure if someone said it to your your first reaction would be ‘yeah but you haven’t heard mine and it’s frigging awful.’
Stacey suggested that you should ask people for their bad ideas upfront instead. That way they’ll be more willing to share.
This presents a problem for the Solopreneur. The chances are you are the only person contributing ideas. If possible look at extending your team. Are there other businesses you know that could benefit from brainstorming together? Do you have a friend or family member who’d be willing to join in?
I recently partnered with a friend and business owner to brainstorm solutions to a common problem we had. Together we came up with more interesting and creative solutions that we would alone.
3. Assess your ideas
After brainstorming you should have a long list of ideas to work from. How do you judge what is a good idea and what isn’t?
Stacey suggested NUF testing. NUF is an ackronym
List each idea to a row on a spreadsheet. Create columns for ‘N’ ‘U’ and ‘F’. Now score each idea between 1-10 for each factor.
From the results pick the top scoring ideas. You are looking for a long list of 10-20 ideas
The next step is to narrow them down to the top 5 ideas. Use ‘Success Principles’ for this. Stacey referred us to the book ‘Made To Stick’ by Chip & Dan Heath for these.
SUCCESs is another ackronym:
Do your ideas fit into this framework? Which of them match the criteria the most?
4. Ask people
Finally, before you invest in an idea ask for opinions from people you trust. Ask journalists you’d like to target with your content, influencers and for small businesses try asking a sample of your customers. This could be an ideal use for your Facebook group.
I’m just scratching the surface here. Stacey’s presentation was full of good tactics and ideas.
I like to think I’m a good ideas person already but, I’ve already put some of the tips into action and I’m finding this more structured approach more useful and relevant. I’m hoping this new focus will see better results, more shares and a more engaged audience for me and my clients in the future.
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