Home Career How to generate innovative ideas: 7 effective strategies

How to generate innovative ideas: 7 effective strategies


Being part of a team is exciting. You get to work with creative minds and fruit innovative business ideas that move your company forward. When your team is going, you can’t be stopped. However, not all days provide inspired thinking.

You can’t expect magic to happen every time you assemble a team. Distractions and fatigue can hinder your team’s productivity, making it difficult to come up with breakthrough ideas. After an uninspired brainstorming session, your team can feel negative, unproductive, and repetitive.

It would be better if you could train your employees to start an effective idea generation process. When you set up a productivity session right, your team will feel accomplished and energized.

Overcome obstacles that block ideas by trying effective strategies that bring the team together. Check out these methods on how you can generate innovative ideas.

7 effective strategies for generating innovative ideas

Some of the following ideas can be done individually with employees, but are best suited for group settings. Leaders play a big role in generating ideas in a group. You should know how to facilitate exercises that give ideal ideas successfully. Here are some steps you can start taking.

1. Start freewriting

Help your team find your strengths and work on your mental blocks by doing a technique called freewriting. In this strategy, employees will write non-stop for 5 to 10 minutes without objecting if there are grammatical errors in their writing. As they continue the process, creative thoughts will appear on their own. This exercise aims to get ideas flowing freely. It’s a quick and effective way to deal with creative blocks.

2. Do the mind mapping exercise

The a mind mapping exercise great for visual thinkers. Everything starts with an idea, good or bad. It then branches out into several ideas.

You can start this visual brainstorming technique by placing an idea in the middle of a piece of paper or a whiteboard. Next, draw lines to connect the sub-ideas.

For example, the main idea is “improved customer service”. Write sub-ideas such as “fast response time” and “problem-free operation” in separate bubbles related to the main goal. You can then expand each sub-idea and create more bubbles. For example, in the “hassle-free” section, you can put “automatic” or “contactless” and brainstorm innovative ways to bring these ideas to life.

3. Make connections with the phrase

Word association focuses on the first idea that comes to mind when you hear a certain word. For example, when you say “battery”, the initial thoughts may be “electricity”, “volt” and “charge”. These exercises provide an opportunity to learn related words and open up ideas for discussion.

As a group, you can use this brainstorming technique with a random selection of words. List the different words and drop them into the bowl. As you draw out each word, associate the word with the brainstorming topic at hand until you come up with a solid idea.


This brainstorming technique looks at an idea from different angles. From product development to marketing and customer service, the SCAMPER technique can help your team become creative and critical thinkers.

SCAMPER means:

  • Substitute – Exchange one aspect of the concept for another
  • Combine – Merge one element of the idea with another
  • Adapt – Adjust the concept in a new context
  • Change – Find ways to change the idea to increase its impact
  • Put it to another use – Consider other ways of using the idea
  • Eliminate – Figure out what you can remove to simplify the idea
  • The reverse is effective – Reorganize an idea to make it more effective

If you are going to do this exercise, it is best to use templates to track responses effectively.

5. Try a figure attack

The figurehead is that the team chooses a well-known person. It can be a boss, a celebrity or a fictional character. Once you have chosen, you must think like them and approach the situation like them. For example, what would Michelle Obama think of this idea? How would she go about it?

By using this method, you can eliminate barriers to creative thinking, such as time and budget. Employees may also feel more confident in pitching their ideas when someone else’s name is associated with them (such as Michelle Obama).

6. Tired of brainstorming? Try reverse brainstorming

Reverse brainstorming can be a bit chaotic, but good for problem solving. In this exercise, you think through problems before making a decision. The leader will ask, “How can we summon [insert problem]?” After your team lists the reasons, everyone should develop new solutions.

7. Charette

The Charette technique is an excellent choice for large groups as it will divide the team into smaller subgroups which multiple rooms are required. Each team or room should then write a problem or topic. The groups will switch rooms and write down their ideas on the main topic. As employees change rooms, they must continue to build on the ideas in front of them.

Come up with the best ideas

If you want to get the most out of your brainstorming session, you can try incorporating the strategies above. But for startups, bright ideas do not come easily. You need the right training and environment to generate innovative ideas. Here, leaders must properly initiate these sessions and ensure that the team’s ideas are implemented.

For a guide to leadership development and career coaching, contact Coaching4Good.

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