Ideas are the most powerful things in the world. Money, talent, customers and growth will flow to the best ideas. Any problem can be solved with the power of an idea. These claims show that having an “ideation” is critical to your long term-success. I agree

So where do you get ideas? These are some basics to start the process:

  1. Create a “War Room”

Most of us are consumed in the daily activities of life (are we ever without our smart phones?) and need a physical space to separate us from distraction. Some call this a War Room.

  1. Brainstorm, of Course

It’s much more difficult to create ideas by yourself. Start a team of 3-5 diverse people and meet in your new War room for two hours per week. Choose your team wisely.

  1. Write Everything Down

Paper the walls with poster paper, and write everything down, using sketches where you can.

  1. Make Room for Frank

Set some rules about honest and fearless opinions in the War Room. There has to be an open discussion by all team members to really innovate.

  1. Identify Problems

Focus the team on your target sector then list every problem that exists in that interest-area. Spend the first sessions just defining the problem but don’t solve those problems just yet.

  1. Put it On Hold

Dismiss the meeting and ask attendees to spend time thinking about possible solutions to problems discussed. Then assign each team member with finding three ideas and email them to the group.

  1. Flesh Out Ideas

Spend the next two meetings actually figuring out ways to solve the problems by discussing your team’s ideas. Use the “no buts” rule, which means don’t allow any criticism of the thoughts—just write them down.

  1. Rank and Test Solutions

When you have prioritized the solutions, prototype the top three ideas right away and force them to compete.

  1. Update the Team Regularly

Keep the team involved with that solution until it is profitable.

  1. And Now, Repeat

Repeat the process with new focuses, new teams and new enthusiasm.

Persistence and patience will be needed to reap the best rewards from this process, but you’ll love the results. Albert Einstein wrote just four papers in one year, but those four papers forever changed the world of physics.

By holding to these disciplines, you should enjoy some great and exciting ideas in the next year. I look forward to seeing them at future shows!

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