Are you ready to change the world for the better? Do you watch Shark Tank's inventors and entrepreneurs and think, "I could do that"?
You're right. You can. Coming up with great ideas isn't only for inventors and entrepreneurs. Being able to come up with innovative ideas is also a great asset at work or home, and can save you time while performing daily tasks.
So how do you come up with a great idea? Even with a background in business, IT, HR and social media, I have not found an easy solution to manufacture ideas, but there are a few strategies that have helped me heighten my inspiration and creative spirit. Here are five of those strategies:.
1. Be mindful of daily opportunities
Declare mentally that you will see opportunities for improvement as you encounter them, wherever they are. The best idea I've had came to me while my father was in the midst of an extended hospital stay and I was going through a lot of personal challenges. I decided that I could see this experience as a chance to complain and mope, or to channel my frustration into ways to make the world better. Thankfully, I chose the latter.
2. Do your homework
Some ideas seem so simple that you immediately dismiss them because you think someone has already thought of it before. Don't fall into this trap! Write down your ideas and do some research to see if it exists. If it does exist, determine if your idea is significantly different or not. Even if it's not a completely unique idea, you might be able to execute it better. To start this research, it's useful to do both a patent search as well as a more general web search.
3. Turn problems into solutions
Look for frustrations, inefficiencies, fears, and problems that you run into in your daily life. In the midst of difficulties lie many opportunities if you can figure out how to solve them! If you don't have an immediate idea for how to fix the concern, write down the problem and think about possible solutions later. Keep in mind that if you have access to an industry or population that is underserved in the marketplace, there is huge potential to cater to a market hungry for change or new resources.
4. Surround yourself with creative people
Finding or creating a group of other people who are interested in inventing is a great way to grow your ideas, and you can build your own ideation confidence by helping someone else. Your local area may have an inventor's club and there are many communities on social media to meet fellow inventors, innovators and ideators. The startup community in your area may also provide inspiration for your efforts, as well as knowledgeable and useful connections.
5. Look to your passions
Think about causes for which you have a great deal of passion and see what problems you may be able to solve within those areas. Like my idea stemming from my father's hospital visit, I had a desire to protect my dad from Hospital Acquired Infections and that passion has driven me to undertake the hard work required to move a great idea forward.
So get started! Commit five entire, consistent, non-multitasking minutes per day to ideation and then record these flashes of brilliance whenever and wherever you have them, no matter how useless they seem. Record all of your ideas from the mundane to the crazy, do a bit of the basic searches mentioned above and next month we'll talk about what to do next with your inspiration.
Kat Mullens, in addition to her journey as an inventor, is honored to get to leverage her expertise in social media, HR, IT, training and entrepreneurship on a regular basis in her professional endeavors. A passionate global traveler who enjoys documenting her adventures in words and images, she's currently learning to spin poi and planning her first flight lesson. She tweets at @KatMullens and can be found on LinkedIn at: www.LinkedIn.com/in/Kathlene