10 Tips to Generate Ideas That Don’t Suck

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been chatting with friends about ideas - you might have even caught my Facebook Live’s with Fred Laforge and David Alston.

One thing is super clear to me, being entrepreneurial is about curiosity. It’s about having no shortage of ideas to challenge the status quo and to make change in the world. And then taking action on those ideas.

But if you’re not already familiar with idea generation, how do you start? Where do you begin? Below are some tried and tested ways that I, and many of the serial entrepreneurs I know, use to come up with some awesome ideas. And honestly, more than we even know what to do with. Here are 10 quick tips to help you get your creative juices flowing:


1. Get uncomfortable.

What’s that saying? “No pain, no gain”...well it’s true, push outside of your comfort zone and a little magic happens. "It's only after you've ruled out and eliminated the stuff that was familiar that you come up with things you haven’t seen before," Originals author Adam Grant tells Business Insider.


2. Get annoyed.

What drives you crazy? Whatever bothers you likely bothers others, too, so much so that they may even pay you to make it go away. This may not be the most pleasant place to start, but imagine the satisfaction!


3. Leave your tribe.

We tend to surround ourselves with people who think like us, try stepping into someone else's shoes. I love to have conversation with people who challenge my worldview and make me question things. Talk to strangers, spend time with people in different industries - who knows what it’ll bring.


4. Feed your soul.

Create new connections by enjoying art and culture. Read books for pleasure. Go to a concert. You’ll become more creative by osmosis. Headspace founder Andy Puddicombe explains in his TED Talk the importance of looking after our minds, and why this is an essential part of the creative process


5. Get passionate.

What are you passionate about? Do you love food, or dancing? Are you interested in coding or building houses? Do you have a passion for working with animals or maybe people? Starting with something that you know a lot about or have a passion in can be a great base for idea generation.


6. Play improv.

Yes, improv. Just like idea generation, improv is about exercising your creative muscles and learning how to quickly connect the dots. It trains you to see opportunity instead of problems, to say “yes and…” instead of “but...”


7. Connect new dots.

Steve Jobs said that “creativity is just connecting things.” Check out Steven Johnson’s TED talk on how ideas are networks. “The question is how do you get your brain in environments where these new networks are going to form?” he asks.


8. Iterate.

Products and services that suck could be your jumping-off point for something better. You may not need to reinvent the wheel, after all.


9. Embrace change.

Accept that your original inspiration is not going to look anything like the business it leads to. Be OK with that and just start.


10. Don’t stop.

As John Steinbeck famously said, "Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen." Or, as Linus Pauling, one of the greatest scientists of all time, puts it, "The way to get good ideas is to get lots of ideas and throw the bad ones away."

What do you do to flex your creative, idea generating muscle?

They might call you crazy but hey, who said crazy was a bad thing? It’s us crazies that have the guts to question, experiment and create. We’re the ones who are making the world brighter. So get crazy and run with your ideas.


Talk soon,


EnglishSarah Short