Brainstorming isn’t always as glamorous as Don Draper makes you think in Mad Men but it’s a necessary part of every creative process. As solopreneurs, we constantly have to come up with new ideas like blog post topics, ways to market our business, and what to post on social media to keep our audience engaged. This means we have to develop a system to make this work for us.
And this is what brainstorming is. Creating a process to generate new ideas and find solutions to a problem. Since everybody’s mind works differently there’s not one process for all but rather several things you can do to create your own idea-generating system.
How to brainstorm right
The most important thing to keep in mind while brainstorming is to stay open-minded. Don’t eliminate unusual ideas and concepts right from the start because you’re afraid to stretch yourself or try out new things.
Setting a timer ensures you stay focused and don’t start drifting away from the topic. It also creates some kind of urgency in which creativity will unfold.
Always start with a very wide-spread collection of ideas. Note everything coming to your mind. In a second step, you can weed out and keep only your best ideas.
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The best way to get all your ideas out of your head and onto paper is to brain dump. You can even do this on a daily basis by keeping a brain dump journal. If you want to brainstorm ideas for a special topic try coming up with a question to start the process. Then, set a timer to 20 minutes.
If you’re dealing with a problem and aren’t sure your solution is the best way to deal, reverse thinking can help. Instead of going for the logical solution try to think outside of the box. Take a look at the opposite to your solution. Once facing the opposite idea and its possible results you can determine if your initial solution is better.
Sleep over it
Our brain can work miracles and while we sleep it will often deal with the problems we encounter during the day. You can try to influence what your brain will process during the night. Spend the last couple of minutes before you fall asleep by thinking about the problem you’re dealing with. This won’t always work, of course, but it’s worth a try. If you’ve ever woken up in the middle of the night fumbling for pen and paper to note the idea you just had before it will disappear, you know exactly what I am talking about.
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The most known form of brainstorming is mind mapping. It’s a way to visually organize your ideas and great for more complex thought processes. You start by putting your initial concept or the problem you want to tackle in the center of a blank page. From there you start to add directly related words or ideas around it. You can work further by branching out those ideas. Use different colors to mark groups and hierarchy.
Meditation is a very effective brainstorming technique and becoming more and more popular. The reason why meditation works so well to generate new ideas is that you switch off the outside world with all its influences. It puts your mind into reception mode and you’re more likely to be open to unusual concepts or new perspectives.
Lastly, I want to mention a completely visual way to brainstorm. Mood boards. To create a mood board just draw together several images to create a visual concept. This is very helpful to define a general direction for the projects you have. You can put together mood boards with photos, typography, color samples, textures and more.
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