“Blue-skying.” “Spitballing.” “Brainstorming.” These phrases are often used synonymously for the concept of “Ideation.”

Ideation is the creative process of generating, developing, and communicating new ideas.

Habitually creative people have a repeatable system for going about being “creative.”

Some go somewhere quiet to contemplate. Some simply block out dedicated time, to work on their craft. Others do their best thinking, by taking long walks; while still others have their “Eureka!” moments in the shower, or on the way home from work, in the car, or on the subway.

Innovation and creativity don’t occur by accident. They are fostered through practice, repetition, and long experience. Learning by doing. Creating good habits. Having a system to get your mind focused on the problem at hand. Removing everything and anything that doesn’t contribute to what you’re wishing to achieve from your field of view.

My favorite Ideation method is to start mentally cataloging what I want to get done for the day, while on my way to get my morning coffee. In fact, the idea for 300 Words, 2 Minutes actually came to me while sitting in my car at Starbucks.

Maybe for you, it’s sitting around a table with your team, and posting stickies on the wall. Or it’s renting out a hotel room for the weekend, to get away and work without being interrupted.

Regardless of the approach you take to getting your creative juices flowing, you should think about Ideation as an ongoing, habitual process – and not just counting on “getting lucky.”

Create a system that works best for you, and your team. Having a structured, repeatable process for Ideation is perhaps the best hedge against the “innovator’s dilemma”, and will keep you atop your game – so that opportunity and preparation can coincide, to create something truly remarkable.

Go, and be you.


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