The Idea Generation Game

Category: Marketing Strategy

Friday September 18th, 2015

Generating Ideas – or Ideation really isn’t a game. It  is an essential skill  if your business is to remain current and, ideally, ahead of its competitors. Ideation is a process; we probably don’t think of it as a process when we’re doing it, but it is and it has three distinct stages.

We start to think of ideas to solve a specific need that we have – perhaps to generate more income, or for product development. You may decide that you need to find new ways of upskilling your staff and so the ideation may be needed from an internal perspective.

Selection of the best ideas can only really be done against a criteria that you have already established. How else could you evaluate the viability of the idea? Considerations your criteria may include:

  • How easy it is to implement
  • The cost of implementation
  • The speed of implementation
  • Return on Investment
  • Likelihood of achieving its objective
  • The appropriateness of the idea to the end-user (remember they could be internal or external)


Success will depend on your ability to choose the right ideas – so you selection process has to be robust. If a team is needed to implement the idea, they must be ready – working together according to the timescales identified in the criteria/selection process.

But one of the most difficult aspects of ideation is the generation of ideas themselves. Stage 2 (Selection) indicates choice – so there must be more than one idea. Some methods of ideation are:


Brainstorming is a fantastic way of generating lots of idea. Start with setting the scene. If you are looking for ideas for a new toddler toy, you might have the brainstorming session on the floor, in a brightly coloured room surrounded by soft toys and games to get your idea generators into an appropriate mind-set.

No idea is silly when brainstorming; the selection process will filter out those less suitable, but until that time all ideas should be welcome. The silliest ones may later lead to the one great idea! And when the initial brainstorming takes place, hierarchy does not exist. Everyone’s ideas are valid.

Mind Mapping:

This is well-known creative tool developed by Tony Buzan that leads to the connection of various ideas. Start with a central element (the problem perhaps) and grow your web of ideas from there. Write down anything that comes to mind in its own box, or cloud and then use lines to link those that connect in some way.

Mind mapping is a useful tool when working alone, however it can be used effectively in groups too. It is a skill that improves with practice and can be extremely effective.

Reverse thinking:

Turn your problem around and you’ll find yourself stating the obvious. So if you wanted to attract three new clients per month you would work on the basis that you didn’t want your business to attract any new clients.   It is thought that it is often easier to think of challenges in the negative, rather than the positive. But quickly turn this around – when you’ve identified what you shouldn’t do (you wouldn’t advertise, or implement a referral programme for example), you’ll find it easier to identify what you should do!

Ideation is an essential part of your marketing process and is not to be ignored if you are to remain ahead of the competition. If you are stuck in a creative or ideation rut, call Darren Joslin on 02920 463047 or email




image courtesy of chatchai_stocker/