Stuck for ideas? No problem. There are several ways to get past that mental block and come up with great ideas for your upcoming projects using online methods.
To quote an oft-used quote, “There are no new ideas, only new ways of making them felt.” If you think that even those new ways have been exhausted, think again.
Surfing the Web can give you the impression that everything that needed to be said and done has been said and done. But it is not so. If you know where to look, you can be assured of an endless supply of ideas in future. That’s where the following tricks can help you. While they are applicable to offline ideas and endeavors, for the purpose of this post, we’ll be discussing them through the lens of the Web.
Remember, your work profile does not matter here. If you want an idea upon which to build your next article, website, product, service, whatever, these action steps can give you the start you need.
Solve A Problem
If you look around, projects that address some kind of a need tend to do quite well for themselves. That’s a good place to begin – by pinpointing a problem that you or someone else has and basing your project on one or more solutions for it. For example, my post about turning your browser into a central workspace was born from my efforts to fix my messy workflow.
The problem you’re attempting to solve can be a major one involving, say, the physical stress caused by working at a desk or a relatively minor one involving a malfunctioning iPhone button. What matters is that you offer a practical solution that is fairly easy to replicate. The best way to find out what others are struggling with is by keeping tabs on forums and social networking profiles that are closely linked to the kind of work you do.
Improve On An Existing Idea
Many successful projects that we see online are not brand new. Instead, they have just improved upon existing ones. Take the case of these excellent custom ROMs for Android. They are based on the stock ROM that ships with tablets and smartphones with the Android OS. But by eliminating unnecessary features from the original, providing more control over the existing ones, and adding other useful tweaks, the custom ROMs have gone on to become quite popular.
A word of caution is required here. If you decide to adopt this method, do ensure that you’re not infringing on anyone’s copyright.
Just Ask Someone
Take full advantage of living in the 21st Century and put the Web to work for you. Pose a question on social media, create an online poll, ask the readers of your blog, or organize a giveaway.
Find a way to inform people that you’re looking for a central theme for your next project, and let your peers take it from there. If you’re lucky, you will end up not just with ideas, but also with one or more volunteers/helpers/partners for your project. Do thank all the people who pitch in to solve your creative dilemmas.
Maintain An Idea File
The nature of any idea is such that one moment it can appear capable of turning into the next big thing and in the next moment it can appear completely useless. A few days later, when seen with fresh eyes, the same idea can appear wonderful once again.
This see-sawing quality of your perception of ideas can cause you to discard some of your best ones when they begin to appear lackluster. Don’t let that happen to you.
Maintain a record of your ideas, no matter how strange or impractical they seem. Use a spreadsheet, Dropbox, your writing or note-taking app, or even an email draft to keep track of the thoughts from all your brainstorming sessions.
While going through these notes days, months, or even years later, you might find something that’s just right for your next project. Those discarded ideas turn into inspiration more often than you think. If nothing else, they can spark off several others.
Use An Idea Generator App Or Website
An idea generator tool should not be the first or the only place you look for ideas. But when you use it carefully and in moderation, it can yield some interesting creative results. Just don’t expect it to have all the answers all the time.
Given the vastness and depth of the Web, chances are that with a little research, you will find an app that’s suited to your work. If you’re a writer, turn to apps that can improve your creativity or websites that offer creative writing prompts. If you’re into film-making, try websites that can help you plan a film or video.
In addition to idea generators, make use of tag cloud generators like Wordle, visual dictionaries, and mind maps to keep the ideas flowing.
As difficult as it is to believe when you’re facing a creative block, there are plenty of ideas floating in the air, just waiting to be picked up by your brain cells. By keeping your mind open and your senses alert, you can not only spot those elusive ideas, even if they happen to be in disguise, but also tune into them with increasing frequency.
What do you do when you have trouble coming up with ideas? Let us know in the comments.
Image Credits: Social media wordcloud by ePublicist (used under CC), Raising a voice for the homeless by ItzaFineDay (used under CC), recycled fun…really! by EvelynGiggles (used under CC), unlocking-your-creative-genius-potential-mind-map_0 by jean-louis zimmerman (used under CC)