An Idea on How to Generate an Idea

Posted by Matt Berringer on April 2, 2012

By Dr. Ramiro Zuniga

Have you ever wondered how certain individuals always come up with great ideas? It seems that these individuals always have fresh, innovative ideas. Are these individuals geniuses? Do these individuals’ brains work differently than everyone else’s? Are these individuals truly visionary?

Well, there are some individuals that are true visionaries. So is there hope for everyone else? I would suggest that the answer is a resounding, “Yes!”

Without a doubt, one of the greatest attributes that anyone in a lead position can possess is that of vision. In fact, vision is usually listed in some form in every job description for such positions. Furthermore, vision is one thing that interview committee members listen for in responses during interviews. After all, those individuals in a lead position are expected to bring in something new and take the organization to the next level.

Below are some strategies that one can use to hone their skills as a visionary.

  • Read – Read as many magazines and journals related to the area of interest. I once read a poster that stated, “Great readers become great leaders.” I subscribe to this frame of mind. A great advantage, today, is that one can always search for a lot of information on the Internet.
  • Network – Don’t be afraid to reach out to individuals in the same position as yourself. Most professionals understand that they may be in the same boat as you in looking for ideas. As such, most are willing to collaborate. After all, it’s of mutual benefit.
  • Mentor – Don’t be afraid to ask someone that you really respect to be your mentor. Most professionals will find this as a tremendous compliment and help when they can. Know, up front, that it is impossible for anyone to be at your beck and call but most will advise if they see that you are trying to grow and improve.
  • Vendors – Vendors are great resources for new ideas. After all, who better knows their product(s)? Ask as many questions as you can regarding their product(s). Challenge your vendor on how to incorporate their product in new ways.
  • Users – If you are in a position where you support others, make it a point to visit with them. Ask them if there is something they wished existed or worked a certain way. Users know what they need. Users can be a great source of inspiration.
  • Borrow – In my experience, a lot of “new” ideas have come from someone else other than the person presenting the “new” idea. Often, one can observe, let’s say, a pilot program at another district, and bring it back to his or her own district. Sometimes, a few things can get tweaked in order to make it work better.
  • Speak Up – Especially in brainstorming sessions, speak up. Even if your thoughts are incomplete, they could lead to new ideas. You don’t have to be an expert in any particular are to generate ideas, you simply have to know what you want as am end result.
  • Reflect – Take the time to reflect. Better yet, make the time to reflect. There is no better exercise, in my opinion, for generating ideas than this. Reflecting allows you to make sense of all that you have read and all that you have heard. Sometimes piecing a conversation with an article, for example, can lead to a great idea.

Believe me, it is not an easy task to come up with new ideas. New ideas generally come about through a lot of work. I close by saying that anything worth having, is worth working for.

Topics: staff development, education, Leadership, K-12