This article is part of our Business Startup Guide—a curated list of our articles that will get you up and running in no time! It’s also part of our Bplans guide to coming up with a great idea.
For some people, coming up with ideas is as easy as spotting chewing gum on the sidewalk. For others, it’s nearly impossible.
For me, new idea generation isn’t just easy, it’s something I’m doing all the time and often without trying. I do not believe this is an innate ability, but rather a “skill” that I’ve learned and practiced over the entire course of my life.
While this “learning” has primarily been subconscious, as I’ve run into more and more people who struggle to come up with new ideas, I’ve made an effort to become conscious of how I do it and where I do it best. The fact that research on the subjects of creativity and innovation has become so popular certainly helps too.
I fully believe that anyone who puts in enough practice and who makes a conscious effort to notice problems and identify needs can improve their ability to come up with new ideas.
A brief bit of science before we dive into how to come up with ideas:
Good ideas are networks
The brain is largely composed of neurons—about 100 billion of them. Connected together, they form a nervous system that is capable of making decisions, sensing surroundings, and issuing commands to our body.
How we think, what we think, and what we’re capable of, are largely a consequence of the connections these neurons have made with one another.