18 Best Idea Generation Techniques

Source | |  BY: Martin

Ideas are things that come and go and fairly frequently too. However, the really great ideas usually spring unexpectedly in moments of inspiration. It becomes easier to come up with great ideas when we free ourselves from the mundane, everyday, conventional thoughts that take up the thought space in our brain.
This article gives you a 1) short note on the three stages of successful ideation and 2) 18 killer idea generation techniques


An organization needs to follow three main stages namely generation, selection and implementation for successful ideation.

Stage #1: Generation

For a lot of companies, making use of ideation to address a specific problem or requirement is frequently a good starting point. The majority of companies can easily identify these kinds of needs – the main decision is whether they contribute to an ideation approach. After problem-solving, come two other key chances for utilizing ideation: core competencies and consumer insights.

Core competencies, in reference to ideation, have to do with leveraging ideation to develop upon a company’s abilities. In this kind of ideation, the organization is looking for fresh applications or new markets for existing services/products.

Consumer insights, with reference to ideation, have to do with utilizing principles of conventional market research (for example: focus groups and surveys) and implementing them in the context of a joint idea-sharing milieu. Surveys are effective though there are a few drawbacks: respondents would not be able to view other replies (to vote up/down or comment) and the response rates are usually pretty low. Even focus groups are effective though they fail to reach the heights of online ideation owing to factors such as price constraints that hinder them from accessing a bigger participant pool.

Stage #2: Selection

Picking the best ideas starts much before the beginning of the ideation process. It is essential that you fix the criteria by which the ideas are to be assessed, who would be responsible for evaluating the ideas, and how the top ideas would be given to the concerned internal teams for further assessment or execution. A proper selection process begins with the use of tags or labels to arrange the ideas into meaningful clusters. An example would be labels being arranged along product lines (such as phone, laptop, tablet) and tags being a level lower, concentrating on attributes (easy navigation, portable, long battery life, lightweight) and/or on features (display, operating system, interface). Labeling and tagging should be followed by prioritization to be certain that the most essential ideas reach the stage of application/execution.

Stage #3: Implementation

The success of implementation is dependent on an organization’s ability to choose the top ideas and take action based on them. It also depends on the organization having appropriate workflows in place so that the right groups take part at the appropriate time in the three steps of the ideation process. The makeup of these workflows (that call out particular roles and aspects of responsibility) is very essential for organizations if they are to start any ideation endeavor. The people in the roles called out should be ready to take in new ideas that don’t come from within the company and possibly can be incentivized or otherwise acknowledged for their readiness to implement the new approach.



SCAMPER is an idea generation technique that utilizes action verbs as stimuli. It is a well-known kind of checklist developed by Bob Eberie that assists the person in coming up with ideas either for modifications that can be made on an existing product or for making a new product. SCAMPER is an acronym with each letter standing for an action verb which in turn stands for a prompt for creative ideas.

  • S – Substitute
  • C – Combine
  • A – Adapt
  • M – Modify
  • P – Put to another use
  • E – Eliminate
  • R – Reverse

2. Brainstorming

This process involves engendering a huge number of solutions for a specific problem (idea) with emphasis being on the number of ideas. In the course of brainstorming, there is no assessment of ideas. So, people can speak out their ideas freely without fear of criticism. Even bizarre/strange ideas are accepted with open hands. In fact, the crazier the idea, the better. Taming down is easier than thinking up.

Frequently, ideas are blended to create one good idea as indicated by the slogan “1+1=3.” Brainstorming can be done both individually and in groups. The typical brainstorming group comprises six to ten people.

3. Mindmapping

Mindmapping is a graphical technique for imagining connections between various pieces of information or ideas. Each fact or idea is written down and then connected by curves or lines to its minor or major (previous or following) fact or idea, thus building a web of relationships. It was Tony Buzan, a UK researcher, who developed the technique “mind mapping” discussed in his book ‘Use your Head’ (1972). Mind mapping is utilized in brainstorming, project planning, problem solving and note taking. As is the case with other mapping methods, the intention behind brain mapping too is to capture attention and to gain and frame information to enable sharing of concepts and ideas.

To get started with mindmapping, the participant just has to write a key phrase or word in the middle of the page. Then, he must write anything else that comes to his mind on the very same page. After that, he must try to make connections as mentioned in the previous paragraph.


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