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Trying to come up with ideas, but stuck?

4 min, 0 sec read
9:30 AM | 18 November 2016
by Rutuja Gandhi
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Whether we know it or not, everyone is a creative individual. Doctors will have their own creative approach to an idea, as opposed to a lawyer, but this will still be as constructive an approach as one of a designer themselves. Do not be afraid to ask for opinions, because they are the best feedback as you may not have thought of something that the person across the room has.

When going through innovative processes, one can face severe mental blocks. These mental blocks kill ideas that could otherwise be improved and perhaps made into successful business, strategies, campaigns, you name it. Mental blocks can be classified into five categories: Cultural blocks:

Social and cultural rules and regulations cause rejections of certain ideas. Due to our instinctive need to fit into a society, the things we do, the things we say, and in this case the things we think, can be seen as inappropriate. This will vary from one society to another, and form one culture to another.

If you have an idea, try and think about it differently, amongst a different target audience, perhaps in a different country. If this is still not possible, try to adapt the idea to your target audience and make the inappropriate, appropriate.

Organisational blocks:

The work environment and the conditions you are in, will affect your productivity, and therefore your thinking process. Generally, companies follow schedules that maximise productivity, and some will also provide interiors and extra activities to do so. If your work space does not help maximise your productivity, don't worry. Go to a park and get some fresh air in your spare time and resume your brainstorming session. If this is not possible, get some colourful pens instead of the ordinary blacks and blues, or some fancy paper, or buy yourself a desk plant - enhance your workspace with exciting little things.

Intellectual and communication barriers:

This can involve not being able to formulate and clearly articulate both, new ideas and issues. This is usually due to not completely understanding the subject of concern, and/ or, just not being able to put into words the constructive mess in your brain. This is always good, this means there's more research to do, hence more ideas to come. Overcome this barrier by organising your thoughts, understand your process of research and ideation. Create visuals, that are easy to understand and support your explanation. Record your research, what have you read, heard, seen that is crucial to your ideation process? By logging all your thoughts and findings, you will understand what you are doing better, and so will be able to formulate and articulate better and with more confidence.

Emotional blocks:

Have a great idea and you don't want to move away from it? This can be classified as an emotional blocks. Although this can be great, as you are focused on what you want to achieve, you may be missing out on something that can be even better. If you have an idea, explore how it can be manipulated and explored further, basically don't get attached to it. If you're fixated on it, test it out, see what is working, what isn't, where it needs to be improved on, who it needs to be targetted towards etc. We tend to get so absorbed in our own world, that we forget what others think of our work, so ask your friends and family what they think of it. See if their feedback can be included, and analyse the benefits, or cons of doing so.


Avoid the assumption that an object has only one function. Open your mind to exploring what daily objects can be used for beyond their daily functions. Do it now, look at the first object on your left, what do you use it for? Now, be creative and imagine what else you could use it for, or would like to use it for? Test your creativity with your ideas, and this will help you turn someone else's product, into an idea.

Think about what frustrates you, don't like something? Think of a solution. Whether it's a product, service or application, you can turn a creative solution into a business. It is likely that something that frustrates you, frustrates others too. The difference is that they are not doing anything about it.

So, whether you have an idea and are facing mental blocks, or you don't have an idea but are looking for one, or even if you're not looking for an idea, the small changes make a difference and get drive you one step closer to the career you are looking for. If you start thinking productively, and understand how to overcome issues rather than spend your time being frustrated, you will find an idea that you will be incredibly passionate about.

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