Have New Ideas
Invent new ideas and exercise your brainpower! Have fun while
you're at it. There are dozens of problem-solving techniques
and idea-generating techniques you can use. One of the easiest,
though, is to simply find new applications for existing ideas,
products, services and systems.
The technique can be used to produce new ideas in any area
of life. Take an existing product, like a raincoat, for example.
It takes just a minute or two to come up with new applications.
How about a line of raincoats for dogs and cats? Raincoats for
cattle? Maybe they lose valuable weight burning calories to stay
warm during cold rains.
Of course evaluating the new ideas you come up with is another
process. It is best left for later, if you don't want to stifle
your creativity. You only need one or two good ideas to make
the effort worthwhile, and having a hundred ideas to choose from
makes finding a few good ones more likely.
I recently saw an ad for a company that uses a dog to find
mold in your house. Dogs can sniff out almost anything, and it
reminded me of the news story from a while back, about a dog
that could detect if you had cancer. My next thought was, "I
wonder what else they could be used to find?" One idea that
came to mind was to use dogs to find people's lost pets. They
track lost criminals so well, so why not a service to find lost
pets? A sniff of the lost cats favorite rug, and the dog is on
New Ideas Beyond Business
It is easy to get stuck on the invention and business applications.
Perhaps these are the easiest areas to come up with new ideas
in. However, that doesn't mean this technique won't work well
in other areas.
I applied Darwin's theory of natural selection to my clothing
selection. No more sorting laundry! The clothes that don't survive
the wash process are tossed and the ones that do are replicated
when I buy new clothes. The ones that still fit survive. Survival
of the fittest!
I read about children who were tested for their ability to
delay gratification. They were put into a playroom and at some
point offered candy, but told they could have one piece now,
or wait fifteen minutes and get two pieces. Some waited, and
some didn't. The children who could consistently delay gratification
were tracked over the years. They were found to be more successful
New applications for this idea? Hmm... Test all kids and sell
a list of the impulsive ones to big companies who can sell stuff
to them all their lives. More seriously, what if more tests like
this were done, in order to put together a list of "happiness
factors?" Perhaps it would lead to a more systemic and scientific
way to raise happy kids.
Want some exercises to test this technique on? Think of a
new use for paper. Find a new application for the idea of selling
by phone. Think of several new uses for socks. Imagine how the
idea of positive thinking could be applied to making animals
happier. If you actually try this technique, you'll see how easy
it can be to come up with new ideas.