How to Come Up with Better Ideas

Alexis Millar is the former Digital Marketing Specialist at the Edmonton Public Library.

Whether you're brainstorming at work or starting a business—here are two tips and a tool to take your ideas to the next level. 

The process of coming up with ideas is called ideation, and it's an important step that's often neglected. Have you ever been in a meeting where a coworker says, "let's brainstorm some ideas?" only to be met with silence? Innovate Edmonton's programming dives deeper into the ideating and brainstorming process and gives you the skills to navigate those situations. If you want to dive deeper into the world of ideation, join us for our Innovation U: An Entrepreneurship Series offered both online and in-person.   

Tip # 1: Frame the problem you or your team are trying to solve in the form of a "How might we" statement. 

For example: How might we…design a better business card?…make mental health resources more accessible? 

Tip # 2: Try Reverse Brainstorming! Instead of thinking about solutions, start by considering the cause of the problem you're trying to address. 

For example, if you're planning on designing a better business card, start by asking, "what are the problems or limitations with how we currently exchange contact and business information?"

The feedback you receive will look like this: 

  • Business cards rip easily and get lost or thrown out
  • They are hard to put into my phone/digital address book
  • The information is never accessible when you need it

Progress! As you can see in this example, it's easier to come up with possible solutions/ideas when you know more about the problem.  

Tool: One of our favourite tools to help facilitate better ideas is a collaborative digital whiteboard like Stormboard (founded and built in Edmonton) or Miro

Want to develop, create, and level up your ideas even more? 

The Edmonton Public Library and Innovate Edmonton have teamed up to offer Innovation U: a four-course entrepreneurial series delivered in-person and online to Edmontonians with big ideas! The first session is on idea generation, where you'll learn a proven framework for developing ideas for your new product, project, or business.