A little help getting to great ideas
There are lots of practical tools and techniques in How To Get To Great Ideas. But I want to help you even more. So here’s a selection of web-tools and templates I’ve created to help you out.
Feel free to use these for yourself or with groups. If you want your own version of any of these tools, just drop me a line.
This page will continue to grow as I add more stuff. So don’t be a stranger.
Borrow someone else's mind
The Brain-Swap is a web-tool that works in any browser. You can even add it to the
It’s all about helping you think differently by approaching your problem from somebody else’s perspective. For example, if it suggests ‘MacGyver’, you might want to just hack a bunch of things together. If it suggests ‘Kim Kardashian’, you might focus on attracting lots of attention.
If it suggests someone you don’t know, move on. Don’t spoil your flow by disappearing down a Wikipedia rabbit-hole.
Be inspired by another industry
The Industry Switcheroo is a web-tool that helps you identify solutions that other people are already using to solve a similar problem.
You start by stating the kind of problem you’re working on. The broader, the better. Something like “It’s an awareness problem” or “it’s an education problem”.
Then use the web-tool to suggest another industry. Spend some time working out how this industry deals with your type of problem. See if you can apply the approach to your own problem. Stay broad and let it lead you in new and surprising directions.
Warm up with a mash-up
A lot of new ideas are simply a recombination of existing elements. This web-tool flexes your combinatorial muscles by giving you two random items to combine.
For example, the visual asks you to combine a mousetrap and a volcano. This could give you the idea to create a mousetrap that incinerates the vermin. Or that uses smoke to choke the rodents. In the other direction, it could suggest traps around a volcano to deter thrill-seeking humans from getting too close to the edge of the crater. See if you can come up with three or four ideas for each combination. Or more, if you want a bigger challenge.
This is a great exercise at the beginning of an idea-generation session. Or just as regular mental practice.
Inspiration any time
Over the last few years, I’ve been running workshops showing people how to be inspired by anything. During the session, we write down learnings from great ideas, businesses
This web-tool has about 200 of those learnings to prompt you to think differently.
The prompts are particularly helpful for anyone coming up with marketing ideas or tech products. But you may find them useful in nudging your thinking in different directions on other projects too.
Work with the right people
At the end of Chapter 8 of How To Get To Great Ideas, I talk about the importance of working with people who have skills that you don’t have. This worksheet helps you understand the skills you have, the skills you want to learn and the skills you need other people to fill.
Measure your creativity
You can use this test yourself to see how you’re improving or use it with a group to see how you compare. It’s called the Alternative Uses Test and it measures fluency, originality, flexibility and elaboration. See how you get on and send me your score. Or just keep it to yourself, if you prefer!