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Creative Activity Guide for Idea Generation

John Lahr
July 11, 2018

Coming up with creative ideas for new content and marketing campaigns is tough work. It can be easy to get dragged into derivative thinking and create uninspired work. Generating good ideas requires a lot of creativity and lateral thinking. It can be difficult developing a new idea when there are so many outside influences that block your mind from thinking abstractly and different.

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The best part is, great ideas don’t need to necessarily be original. Great Ideas can be old ones in new ways or multiple old ideas combined to create something different. Often these are the best as people are already accustomed to some aspects of them, while still having the opportunity to be delighted by something new.

The key is to come up with many big ideas, refine the best ones, then prototype and test furiously. A good way to test your ideas is to use information that is backed with visual and textual data. Having data from both of these aspects will help your ideation sessions that you have already tested before executing your plan. And just because the event leading up to your idea may have a different outcome from your original idea does not mean it was a bad idea, it may have just needed fine tuning.

Here are 5 different ideation methods that are great for sparking new ideas:

Forced connection

This is an activity where you take two objects or ideas and think of different ways they are connected. This helps with creative thinking and brainstorming new ideas along with broadening their perspective on the two items.

For example of a forced connection is a rocket and a computer. A connection between the two is they are both the fastest in their categorizes, meaning a computer is the fastest way to find new information and a rocket is the fastest traveling object.

Another connection between the two is they are both multi purposed. A rocket is not only used in a rocket ship as a form of travel but also used in fireworks, missiles, and ejection seats. As for a computer it is used in phones, automobiles, and robots.


Typically when in a brainstorming session you are coming up with solutions to solve the problem. Starbursting is like that, but instead of coming up with solutions you are asking questions about your problem or idea. By asking questions and not focussing on the solution, it allows you to think more abstractly and approach your problem in a different way. The questions that you would be wanting to ask is Who? What? When? Where? Why? And How?




This exercise gets everyone on your team involved in the group and does not discourage anyone's ideas or thoughts. Brain-writing works best when you have people from different branches of your company working together. This allows for different perspective and thought processes to come together. The first thing when starting to brain-write is to identify the problem.

Once the problem is identified write it down on the top of a sheet of paper. Then pass the sheet around to each person in the group. While the paper is being passed around the group members are writing down their thoughts and ideas relating to the problem.

The group is able to see everyone’s input on the problem and can also work off of what has been written down and can continue the other person thought. The purpose of this exercise is to not shy anyone away from expressing their ideas because in a group brainstorming, it just becomes a yelling contest instead of brainstorming great ideas.



When coming up with a new idea or product you are trying to gage the quality of that idea or product and how it will affect the market. Speedboat is an activity where you have the great idea or product in mind and then you start to come up with the problems that it might face. By doing this it will help perfect your idea and make sure that it is flawless.

To start this activity someone draws a speedboat on a whiteboard or a piece of paper. Then the group starts to draw anchors attached to the boat with problems on it that will slow down the speedboat. The problems will show what will slow down your speedboat (product or idea). Since you are identifying your problems before implementing your idea or product to the market you are able to plan for those problems in advance.

When having an idea people often get tunnel vision and stop thinking about different perspectives or outcomes from that idea. The 6 thinking hats activity helps with getting out of the rut from thinking one way and creates abstract thinking along with parallel thinking.

Six Hats

This activity consists of six hats and each of them have their own purpose behind them. Each of the hats has a specific color that correlates with the meaning of the hat. The colors are white, blue, red, black yellow and green.

White hat thinker - signifies data and only focuses on facts, this is the logical thinker.

Blue hat thinker - generates an outline and sets goal for the group to strive for.

Red hat thinker - sees how everyone is feeling about the idea and seeking their own intuition about the idea.

Black hat thinker - the negative thinker meaning they are finding the problems with each idea.

Yellow hat thinker - the positive thinker, showing why each of ideas are useful and helpful.

Green hat thinker - Thinking outside the box, think beyond the patterns that the other hats are thinking.


No matter which methods you deploy to attack your ideation sessions, working in group settings will help your team work better together along with innovative ideas to come from the activity. After creating the idea it is crucial to know how to market it, a great way to do this is to stick with the creativity aspect and to conduct a creative market research. This will allow your idea come alive and into the product it is destined to be.

There will be more information about creativity and the creative process more to come in the future, but a good piece to read that will help with your writing and making it best as possible is THE CREATIVE’S GUIDE TO WRITING CONTENT OPTIMIZATION.

Our friend Martin over at Cleverism also wrote an expansive guide on idea generation techniques that everyone here at Cortex loved. 

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