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How to Generate Ideas

Brainstorming. This involves writing everything that comes to mind when thinking about the problem at hand and its potential solutions. Think of it as a brain dump of every possibility. Fill the page with whatever pops into your head, suspend the critic and just dump the thoughts.
© Torrens University
Ideation montage with notepads, mindmap, brainstorming and stiopwatch

Brainstorming

This involves writing everything that comes to mind when thinking about the problem at hand and its potential solutions. Think of it as a brain dump of every possibility. Fill the page with whatever pops into your head, suspend the critic and just dump the thoughts.

Mind Mapping

This is like brainstorming but more considered. Write the problem in the centre of your page and draw connections to each thought or solution that pops up in relation to that problem, then draw connections from those words to additional thoughts. Here is a great video in suggested resources on this process!

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

Ideating

Challenging but rewarding, ideating in a group brings diversity and unique ideas to the table. It can be done in big or small groups and involves people going through the defined problem and researching together to work on a solution. Sometimes, using creative thinking warm-ups and games can get everyone in a fun and comfortable mood perfect for ideating so they can generate ideas to build upon together. Ideas can then be presented to the group for feedback, and refined ideas can be voted on to see what goes through to the next stage.

Rapid Ideation

Set a timer (5 minutes recommended) and write 20 ideas, yes 20! It doesn’t matter how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ you perceive your ideas to be – as soon as they hit the brain get them onto the paper. Your brain is already subconsciously drawing connections from your research. Forcing you to rapidly ideate allows your instincts to take over and what comes out might surprise you.
Before we jump into ideation, let’s touch on two common modes of thinking you will probably encounter throughout your studies. These are convergent AND divergent thinking.
diagram of Convergent versus Divergent thinking

Convergent Thinking

This is where you get to a solution by narrowing down to one correct answer. It is rigid, logical and it’s about finding one correct answer only.

Divergent Thinking

This is quite the opposite. Rather than relying on a process of analysis to come to one solution, it involves thinking creatively and exploring many possibilities in unconventional ways. It;’s chaotic and organic, which can be daunting at first, but allows you to explore many options to develop something new and unique.
© Torrens University
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