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How to Generate Good Ideas?

How was Sir Isaac Newton's theory of gravity developed? Only from sitting beneath a tree or being inquisitive and starting to question? Good ideas rarely happen in isolation. Sir Isaac understood that he couldn't have come up with his idea without the scientists before him; he wrote, "If I have never seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” The question, then, becomes, how to generate these ideas?


  • Gather many ideas: getting them out of people's thoughts and into the group's thoughts. The ideas then develop into group issues or puzzles that spread throughout the group and can be applied to generate more ideas.

  • Create an "Innovative environment": the most crucial factor in boosting idea gathering is to act as an internal sandbox for employees that encourages and enables them to freely think and share their ideas without judging or labeling any of their thoughts as a bad idea. This includes involving process design in the workflow procedures like addressing team member commendations to improve the individually assigned task and changing KPI to motivate the people in organizations to be more creative.

  • Build a culture: encouraging people to put aside their egos, to believe that anything they do can always be improved, and to acknowledge that ideas are not divine gifts but rather something anybody can develop through practice. This mindset will eventually become the basis for all good ideas and businesses' progression.


One good example of companies that successfully generate good ideas is Google. The tech powerhouse has kept the innovation pipeline going by tapping its employees and letting ideas flow. The company provides many channels for expression, including Google Universal Ticketing Systems, a way to file issues about anything to be reviewed for patterns and problems. Regarding culture building, at the animation studio giant Pixar, everyone is willing and ready to listen to accept feedback, believing that their actions can still be improved. Flaws are pointed out regularly to root out mediocrity by creative directors despite its context.

To conclude, good ideas are likely to come with the ability to think and an idea-sharing culture. Therefore, gathering many ideas, creating an innovative environment that encourages employees to think freely, and building a culture with a mindset that drives an organization are critical success factors for businesses wanting to derive good ideas.

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