"The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas." -- Linus Pauling, two-time Nobel Prize winner

Creativity guru Bryan Mattimore has made a career of bolstering innovation. His official title is "Cofounder and Chief Idea Guy" of Growth Engine Innovation Agency. In that capacity, he has facilitated 1,000 brainstorming sessions and 500 focus groups. His creativity leadership has led to $3 Billion in new products and services for fully one-third of Fortune 100 companies. But you don't have to attend one of his in-person events to benefit from his idea-generating prowess. His new book, 21 Days to a Big Idea, is chock full of breakthrough idea creation tips. He shared a few with Inc.com about what you can do to start your quest for the next Big Idea.

1. Begin with "arenas of passion."

Mattimore encourages people to look within for inspiration: "Create a list of arenas for new products, services, or business concepts you feel passionate about. Try to identify at least 30. Generating this many 'arenas of passion' will help open up a world of creative possibilities. Are you excited about inventing a new children's toy or game, household product or tool, a new service for artists, or a non-profit to help retirees earn extra income? Define what excites you and go for it!"

2. Identify the problems.

Not sure where to start? Mattimore suggests you begin keeping an "idea notebook" and start filling it with problems - even minor ones - that you encounter throughout your day. "Try to identify at least twenty different problems. If these problems are in your 'arenas of passion' so much the better."

3. Let the potential solutions flow.

Once you have your problem list, it is time to dig deeper. "Now, with your twenty problems, do your best to generate some ideas/solutions," Mattimore counsels. "This is a great creative warm-up for the creative thinking techniques that follow. And who knows, you might actually generate a Big Idea from it. Even Facebook was created originally to help computer geeks get dates!"

4. Adapt an existing idea or technology.

The next step is to look at what is available in the marketplace to see if something can be adapted to your needs. "Find one or more new technologies that intrigue you," says Mattimore. "List at least twenty capabilities, features, points of difference, and/or benefits of the technology. Then, combine it with one of your arenas of passion to create a new product or service concept. For example, an Israeli inventor recently created a low-cost waterproof bicycle made almost entirely out of a specially-treated, extra-strong cardboard. What other inventions might you create with this new kind of cardboard? What other improvements to bicycles can you imagine?"

5. Save money, save time.

Still don't have an idea? Mattimore has more suggestions up his sleeve."Create a list of things that waste time or money at work or in your personal life. Pick one or two of these " wasters" and create a new product, solution or service to address it. If something annoys or inconveniences you, it probably aggravates others too!"

6. Facilitate self-actualization.

The Internet is a great place to get ideas. Mattimore notes: "Watch a variety of online speeches, presentations, or YouTube videos from experts in one of your arenas of passion. Then, based on what you see, hear, and learn, create at least one Big Idea for a new product or service that will help other people self-actualize."

7. Try mashing your words.

When in doubt, Mattimore encourages people to go for Big Ideas by thinking big. "Invent your 'Big Idea' in an area of passion by mashing it up with one of the following benefit modifiers: 1) smart/thinking; 2) speed/quick; 3) educational; 4) informational; 5) healthy; 6) virtual; 7) digital; 8) futuristic; 9) mobile; or 10) growing/expanding. Think outside the box: What's a "smart"... basketball, cooking pot, travel app, bicycle, lock, or fork?"

Mattimore concludes: "By using these strategies and the other creative techniques offered in "21 Days to a Big Idea," you should never feel you can't create that next Big Idea to grow and improve your business...and your life!". So pick up a book and get moving. Your million dollar idea may be just 21 days away.

Published on: Jan 30, 2017