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How do you generate ideas?

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df1992

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May 26, 2020
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Hi Everyone,

I'm on a mission to become an idea machine and I'm challenging myself to come up with 10 ideas everyday. I'm curious to see how you might come up with ideas.

Here's how I do it so far:
  • Idea sex: mix two random products together = ?'s
  • Problem based: Either through my own problems, or asking questions to friends and families about their problems
  • "Wouldn't it be great if....".... finish the sentence with what product or service you think would be great
  • Imagining the future: What do you think the future will look like and what products and services will need to be around to support it
  • Reverse imagination: What things do we use/or do that people will look back on in 10 years time and think, "wow, that was stupid" (such as reading maps!)
  • Plus just general lists like:
    • Ideas for a podcast
    • Things that annoy me
    • Things that would make me laugh
    • Ideas for TV shows or movies
My aim is to build a strong idea muscle through working it out everyday that I will find an idea that I'll be confident enough to being me to the fastlane.

How do you come up with ideas?
 

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df1992

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May 26, 2020
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You should read J. Altucher's article again, everything is there already.
Yep a few of the methods from what I posted is from that article, plus a few more from different people. I'm just curious to see how other people might also generate ideas! Don't want to limit myself to one way of thinking!
 
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df1992

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May 26, 2020
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London
It would be great if you share those articles with others as well.
3 things that have helped me (not articles):
  1. Dane Maxwell's book, start from zero (has a really nice method of idea extraction)
    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2F-2-I2-5k
  2. The Accidental Creative by Todd Henry
  3. A number of different Udemy courses focused on entrepreneurship which are all about generating ideas
 

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Be curious. Never take anything at face value. Ask lots of questions. Never be afraid to ask dumb questions. Always ask yourself what else could I use this for?

When you have free time pop in specialist stores you’ve never frequented before and look at all the weird and wonderful things they sell.

Prime your reticular activating system.
 

eliquid

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Since your focus in doing is to one day use an idea to get you to the fastlane, the only thing you are missing is once you find an idea, sticking to it to make it a winner.

You're going to have to be a domain authority to increase your odds of that.

What good is an idea that once you jump into it, you don't know the market well and you rely on others to validate it for you which could lead you down the wrong path?

Because of that, you need to look at ALSO:

1. What do you know more about, that the layperson does not?
2. What itch of your own, can you scratch?

Add that to your mix to start narrowing down your ideas, or adding a layer to them.

I'm not saying you have to do these things in order to be successful with an idea. Plenty of people have banged through an idea without them and been successful. I am just trying to show you a path that could be a bit easier for you in the longrun that can increase your chances of fulfilling the idea.

.
 

Beerbread

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All of these suggestions are great. I read How to Get Ideas by Jack Foster. It's done almost like a children's book with a focus on copywriting, but it's applicable to everything you put your mind to! It's a quick read and you'll finish it in a day!
 

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study 'brainstorming'
 

sparechange

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Go outside with a pen and piece of paper.

Interview 100 random people on the street asking them what types of problems they have with products or services that they use.

Also, ideas don't really matter, I've personally given away a ton of free ideas on this forum and not a SINGLE person has executed on them.

You can make a million dollars selling socks, or pencils. Some even make millions selling pet rocks, it's not the idea, but the execution.
 

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eliquid

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The challenge here is how do I stop all these ideas from filling my head & distracting me from what I should be doing?

If we lived to be a thousand & seamlessly executed every idea back to back we still wouldn't be finished by the time we died.
By doing what I mention here:

here:


and here:


That should narrow things down a bit.
 

Odysseus M Jones

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Thanks for that.
Could you confirm that I understand correctly?
Sorry, the quotes are out of order.

What you mean by domain expert is knowing more about what I'm doing than who I'm selling to?
And sell the solution to my own problem?

Apologies for the 's' word, I know we like the 'v' word around here.
just means you know more than the next person, which could be a lay person
More importantly, I know what the market needs because Im scratching my own itch since Im a customer of my own products
You're going to have to be a domain authority to increase your odds of that.
1. What do you know more about, that the layperson does not?
2. What itch of your own, can you scratch?
 

Stargazer

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Idea sex: mix two random products together = ?'s
I was going to be silly and say 'Ok, I am looking around my desk and there is a lamp and a pair of scissors therefore... ' :)

And then I thought I would Google scissors you can use in the dark and hey presto


There are no prices so perhaps they have been discontinued as no real market, but someone gave it a good bash.

Dan
 

alexkuzmov

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Hi Everyone,

I'm on a mission to become an idea machine and I'm challenging myself to come up with 10 ideas everyday. I'm curious to see how you might come up with ideas.

Here's how I do it so far:
  • Idea sex: mix two random products together = ?'s
  • Problem based: Either through my own problems, or asking questions to friends and families about their problems
  • "Wouldn't it be great if....".... finish the sentence with what product or service you think would be great
  • Imagining the future: What do you think the future will look like and what products and services will need to be around to support it
  • Reverse imagination: What things do we use/or do that people will look back on in 10 years time and think, "wow, that was stupid" (such as reading maps!)
  • Plus just general lists like:
    • Ideas for a podcast
    • Things that annoy me
    • Things that would make me laugh
    • Ideas for TV shows or movies
My aim is to build a strong idea muscle through working it out everyday that I will find an idea that I'll be confident enough to being me to the fastlane.

How do you come up with ideas?
Well ideas are not all that great.
Personally, I dont have a method.
I just observe and pay attention to what people do and say.

Once you start execution, ideas will come, not only random ones but ideas related to what you are executing.
Seriously, ideas are like rough dimonds.
Sure they have some value, but until you cut them, polish them and sell them, they are basically rocks like any other rock.
 

Kevin88660

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I assume you are talking about business ideas to embark on.

Ideas are plenty the hard part if how to choose and base on what. if you spent weeks looking around, reading and considering 3-4 Promising business ideas And eventually settling on one..it will be a much better choice.

I choose based on
1) my own Existing skill and the skill of the team (If you have partners)
2) projected industry growth
3) projected income ceilling. How much the roles models are already earning there.
4) Is the business “closer to money”. Rapid and easy monetization path are always morale and cashflow friendly and hence harder to fail.
5) Is there a long term solution to lack of control? I think cents framework control is the most important thing to plan and watch out for me personally, because I target projects that people are already making money in, and I try to do better leveraging on existing skill and learning along the way. So Need, entry, scale and time factors are naturally present un those businesses.
 

Marco L

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Currently, I am working with 21 Days to a Big Idea. Which has a lot of exercises (21 to be precise) to come up with new ideas. There are often quite challenging, but I think they have value to get your brain flowing.
 

eliquid

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Thanks for that.
Could you confirm that I understand correctly?
Sorry, the quotes are out of order.

What you mean by domain expert is knowing more about what I'm doing than who I'm selling to?
And sell the solution to my own problem?

Apologies for the 's' word, I know we like the 'v' word around here.
Correct, you understand it
 

Andy Black

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Hi Everyone,

I'm on a mission to become an idea machine and I'm challenging myself to come up with 10 ideas everyday. I'm curious to see how you might come up with ideas.

Here's how I do it so far:
  • Idea sex: mix two random products together = ?'s
  • Problem based: Either through my own problems, or asking questions to friends and families about their problems
  • "Wouldn't it be great if....".... finish the sentence with what product or service you think would be great
  • Imagining the future: What do you think the future will look like and what products and services will need to be around to support it
  • Reverse imagination: What things do we use/or do that people will look back on in 10 years time and think, "wow, that was stupid" (such as reading maps!)
  • Plus just general lists like:
    • Ideas for a podcast
    • Things that annoy me
    • Things that would make me laugh
    • Ideas for TV shows or movies
My aim is to build a strong idea muscle through working it out everyday that I will find an idea that I'll be confident enough to being me to the fastlane.

How do you come up with ideas?
I don't try to come up with ideas. I try to help people. Some will say I sound like a stuck record, but there's a reason I keep bringing this up.

Challenge yourself to help 3 people each day instead of have 10 ideas a day.

Why? Business is about adding value, and getting paid. Helping people = Adding value. Having ideas is not adding value.

If I had to point you to one thing it would be this:


The amazing thing when you start helping people is that you'll eventually get better at helping people with similar problems. You'll specialise in helping people with those problems, and start becoming an authority as @eliquid suggests. If you want to grow a business then you'll help people / add value so that you get paid. As soon as you're getting paid you're on your way. As you get more and more experience helping people using your skillset then you'll get more than 10 ideas a day naturally - all related to helping those people more.

I challenge you to get paid helping someone this week. If you can't get paid, then at least go help someone this week.
 

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lucasb

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Jun 5, 2018
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I have been doing the 10 daily ideas of the Altucher regularly and I can affirm that it serves as a brain exercise. (original brian tracy 20 ideas to a specific problem or goal).

Every so often a very good, applicable idea appears that generates an improvement in my life.

Yesterday I found this book that I have not read yet, but that I understand by other posts here, The book is about physical product ideas. Should be enough solution for what you are looking for.

 
Last edited:

Kid

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I was going to be silly and say 'Ok, I am looking around my desk and there is a lamp and a pair of scissors therefore... ' :)

And then I thought I would Google scissors you can use in the dark and hey presto


There are no prices so perhaps they have been discontinued as no real market, but someone gave it a good bash.

Dan
Make them fluorescent!
 
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df1992

Contributor
May 26, 2020
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London
I don't try to come up with ideas. I try to help people. Some will say I sound like a stuck record, but there's a reason I keep bringing this up.

Challenge yourself to help 3 people each day instead of have 10 ideas a day.

Why? Business is about adding value, and getting paid. Helping people = Adding value. Having ideas is not adding value.

If I had to point you to one thing it would be this:


The amazing thing when you start helping people is that you'll eventually get better at helping people with similar problems. You'll specialise in helping people with those problems, and start becoming an authority as @eliquid suggests. If you want to grow a business then you'll help people / add value so that you get paid. As soon as you're getting paid you're on your way. As you get more and more experience helping people using your skillset then you'll get more than 10 ideas a day naturally - all related to helping those people more.

I challenge you to get paid helping someone this week. If you can't get paid, then at least go help someone this week.
I love this! Challenge accepted :D
 

Meerten

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Also I'd say: look for strong emotions. In yourself and in others.
For example frustration, which goes hand in hand with a pain point.
And a pain point masks a NEED.

Once you uncover a need, you need only remember one word: HOW.
Once you carefully formulate a decent "how"-question, your subconscious will start processing in the background.
Then when you let go for a bit and take a nice shower and all: Bam. An idea pops in.

That "how"-question after spotting a need should get that idea-engine of yours running wild.

Be reminded though, that the quality of your "how" question will directly determine the quality of your idea.
So don't be lazy in the question phase. Use that empathy muscle.

Works for me like this anyways. YMMV
 
Last edited:

WJK

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Hi Everyone,

I'm on a mission to become an idea machine and I'm challenging myself to come up with 10 ideas everyday. I'm curious to see how you might come up with ideas.

Here's how I do it so far:
  • Idea sex: mix two random products together = ?'s
  • Problem based: Either through my own problems, or asking questions to friends and families about their problems
  • "Wouldn't it be great if....".... finish the sentence with what product or service you think would be great
  • Imagining the future: What do you think the future will look like and what products and services will need to be around to support it
  • Reverse imagination: What things do we use/or do that people will look back on in 10 years time and think, "wow, that was stupid" (such as reading maps!)
  • Plus just general lists like:
    • Ideas for a podcast
    • Things that annoy me
    • Things that would make me laugh
    • Ideas for TV shows or movies
My aim is to build a strong idea muscle through working it out everyday that I will find an idea that I'll be confident enough to being me to the fastlane.

How do you come up with ideas?
Are you keeping an idea journal? Are you writing it all down? That really helps me.

Here's what I do: I mentally run through the problem I'm working on just as I'm going to sleep. Then I assign my mind the job of coming up with a solution or a group of solutions. I keep a pad and pencil next to my bed to write down anything that comes up from that mental job. Sometimes it wakes me up during the middle of the night. Sometimes I wake up in the morning with a non-sensible answer. I write those down too because I find that they are many times a piece of the puzzle. I also write down any memorable dreams whether they seem to relate or not. Anyway, that one way I do it...
 

floridaman

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A little trick I like to use... keep one of your browser tabs open at all time, and track the keyword #frustrated on Twitter --> https://twitter.com/search?q=#frustrated&src=typed_query . You'll see a TON of first world problems come up. A lot of them are petty. Teenagers complaining about their cell phone plan or something. But some are REAL problems, and it'll help you get into the habit of looking for problems to solve. Something may just click one day.
 

WJK

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Hi Everyone,

I'm on a mission to become an idea machine and I'm challenging myself to come up with 10 ideas everyday. I'm curious to see how you might come up with ideas.

Here's how I do it so far:
  • Idea sex: mix two random products together = ?'s
  • Problem based: Either through my own problems, or asking questions to friends and families about their problems
  • "Wouldn't it be great if....".... finish the sentence with what product or service you think would be great
  • Imagining the future: What do you think the future will look like and what products and services will need to be around to support it
  • Reverse imagination: What things do we use/or do that people will look back on in 10 years time and think, "wow, that was stupid" (such as reading maps!)
  • Plus just general lists like:
    • Ideas for a podcast
    • Things that annoy me
    • Things that would make me laugh
    • Ideas for TV shows or movies
My aim is to build a strong idea muscle through working it out everyday that I will find an idea that I'll be confident enough to being me to the fastlane.

How do you come up with ideas?
I'm re-reading your post after a while... What have you done with the ideas you came up with day after day? Are you still coming up with 10 ideas every day? Have you started a new business? Have you invented a new product? Have you figured out how to make your bed every day and pick up after yourself -- if so, I have some men in my life for you share with! Have you changed your thinking about the world? Is this exercise an end unto itself? What are the trends in your idea log? Have you identified some progressive lines of thinking -- where one idea leads to another? Has that caused any break-through ideas to come out?

I don't try for your kind of volume of ideas. But, I am a great observer of the world around me. I like to marry two or more stand-alone ideas. My favorite definition of genius is the person who takes common elements and puts them together or uses them in unique ways. I want to be that person.
 

drahz

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A little trick I like to use... keep one of your browser tabs open at all time, and track the keyword #frustrated on Twitter --> https://twitter.com/search?q=#frustrated&src=typed_query . You'll see a TON of first world problems come up. A lot of them are petty. Teenagers complaining about their cell phone plan or something. But some are REAL problems, and it'll help you get into the habit of looking for problems to solve. Something may just click one day.
Also, you can look at the Twitter streaming API if you want to automate this in some way.
 

USN-Ken

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A little trick I like to use... keep one of your browser tabs open at all time, and track the keyword #frustrated on Twitter --> https://twitter.com/search?q=#frustrated&src=typed_query . You'll see a TON of first world problems come up. A lot of them are petty. Teenagers complaining about their cell phone plan or something. But some are REAL problems, and it'll help you get into the habit of looking for problems to solve. Something may just click one day.
Nice idea.
I tried it on Facebook and it worked a bit there too.
 

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