Now, you might be thinking: That doesn’t sound creative at all. We like to convince you of the opposite!
Certainly, you’ve sometimes given up your ideas far too easy in the past. However, what you supposed to be a flop, could turn out to be a brilliant idea on another occasion.
We want to show you, how to modify your old ideas or combine them to new ones.
Why do good ideas end up in the trash?
Honestly, were those ideas actually that bad? Maybe you just didn’t have enough time to elaborate them or put them into practice. Or you’ve payed too much attention to critical opinions of others. Don’t waste your creative potential, because there is a second chance for your ideas.
Use the Osborn Method to look at issues from different perspectives and to ask the right questions that will bring your ideas forward. This method activates our associations to a topic and makes it easy to draw parallels to other areas of business or life.
Osborn Method: Checklist for finding ideas
Alex Osborn not only is the creator of the popular creative technique called “Brainstorming”, he also invented this checklist, which is particularly useful for developing and refining existing ideas or for utilizing them in new areas of application.
All you have to do is to use the following verbs to formulate questions, which will help you to generate new ideas step by step.
- Put to other uses
Could an idea be used in another area? Would other departments benefit from a process that already works out in your department? Could your product be used in areas of application, that haven’t come to your mind so far?
What can be adopted or copied? What parallels can be drawn?Example: When you create content for your email campaigns, you could make use of successful SEO techniques and search for frequently used keywords. Especially, long tail key words could give you some hints on frequently asked questions related to your topic. Google Suggest is another source for finding problems, people have to face. Also, we recommend to learn something from the top-ranked pages, e.g. how to write effective titles or how to create really good content.
Could an idea be modified to make it useful? Do new colors or a new design make a difference?
Example: This point is especially important in content marketing. You don’t have to create new content all the time, because sometimes it is just good enough (or even better) to present it in another way, e.g. as an infographic. Maybe you could modify the design of your newsletter just a little bit – change the color of buttons or use more images in your campaigns – to catch the attention of your readers.
Is there something, you could add to make it complete? Should you spend more time in doing something or should you do it more often? Could you multiply something or make it bigger than it is (exaggeration)?
Example: You could think about your email send frequency to make the most out of your email marketing. Read this blog post on how often to send email newsletters, when you want to learn more about this topic.
Is there something you could omit? Does your article become better, when you concentrate on few but essential aspects? Could you pack it to a short checklist?
Which parts could be swapped. Are there steps in a process, which could be replaced by others?
What happens when you change the order of doing things? Could there be a new, successful constellation of your team?
Example: Rearrange the order of the articles in your email campaign to attract more attention or use iRated, because this technology automatically sorts the sections of a newsletter according to the interests of each subscriber.
What is the opposite of something? Is it possible to invert or reverse something?
Example: Some headlines are formulated negatively on purpose – “10 stupid mistakes only newbies in email marketing make”. As long as you consider yourself to be a newbie, such a headline almost forces you to read the article, because nobody wants to make stupid mistakes, when there are ways to avoid them.
Are there any combinations that could work out? Are there members of your team, who could profit from working with each other. Which colors harmonize best?
It is not important to process the whole checklist, even though that could help you out of a creative trough. However, you should definitely think twice, before you drop an idea. Take some minutes to make notes, think about it and keep the ideas in mind to make use of them in the future.