Finding Creative Solutions to Old Problems
Have you ever been working on a solution to a problem but you just can’t work the kinks out of the solution? What if you have workers in your office who are unhappy in their current tasks but you can’t afford to hire others? Perhaps you can move workers around so everyone is using their favorite skills to their best advantage. Maybe you have someone working for you who is quick to complain but slow to present ideas for improvement but for budget reasons or other issues, now is not the time to move staff or change the process. What do you do?
Finding a Time and Place for New Ideas
Sometimes it is just a matter of time and timing before your new idea will work. In a situation such as this, it might be helpful to record the idea in some way and save it for the future. Taking extra time to mull an idea over can help you figure out all the angles and work out all the bugs that your imaginative idea was not able to address. Not forgetting the first idea is the best way to build on your flash of inspiration and turn it into a working, concrete plan. There are several methods you can use to keep your ideas alive while working on something else.
- Create an Idea Box: Find a used coffee can, cookie tin or note card box and keep some notes cards and a pen inside. When you have an idea, even if the idea is not fully formed, write down the idea on one of the note cards and keep the card inside your idea box. Then when you find other ideas that will help develop the original idea, you can easily add the new thoughts to the first idea.
- Create an Idea Log: Use a logbook, register, diary, or notepad to accumulation and track your ideas. By sectioning your logbook into sections such as Planning, Procedures, Team Members and Special Projects, you can develop an action plan for your new idea.
- Collect the ideas of others: Save advertisements, cartoons, pictures, quotes or sayings that are interesting to you. You may be able to “re-invent” someone else’s idea and develop it into a fantastic idea of your own. We all learn from others. Improving on the ideas of others is a great way to fill your Idea Box.
- Use software programs such as OneNote or Outlook to store your ideas. Create an idea log in MS Word or Excel to help you develop good ideas and record why some ideas did not work. When analyzing the ideas that did not work, you may find another project or process where that rejected idea will become a great idea.
Remember, creative ideas come from all sources. Everyone is a problem solver; everyone is creative. Forgetting brilliant ideas is common, so find a way to record and remember your inspirational, brain-storming thoughts for further analysis and development.