A few weeks ago I had never heard of Dr. Edward de Bono. Just in case you haven’t either – he’s the guy who originated the term “lateral thinking” and is a proponent of the teaching of thinking as a subject. He’s also written the book Six Thinking Hats, a transformative book which I have now downloaded, read and can highly recommend.
I was lucky enough to be introduced to Dr. de Bono’s theory by Richard Morris from Indigo Business Services, a skilled practitioner of his lateral thinking techniques. And I am hooked by one part of the theory in particular. It’s called Random Entry and it plays into the power of the human mind to find connections between seemingly unrelated things.
I found myself putting it into practice almost immediately and using it regularly in my day-to-day life. It’s great for idea generation, especially if you’re stuck for new ideas or keep coming up with the same things over and over again. And so I just have to share – because it really has helped transform the way I work and boosted my creativity. I think it can do the same for you.
Let me explain how it works:
- Define a focus statement to centre your concentration
Put simply your focus statement is what you want to generate new ideas around.
- Find a random entry point
This can be a word, photo, object or even a piece of music – any stimulus. The internet is amazing so here are links to a random word generator, a random image generator and a random song generator. I like to mix things up and alternate between them. But you can use whichever you like best.
- Further focus your thinking
Write down the first 4 words that come to mind when you think of your random entry point. This is really quick, a mere matter of seconds. It’s very much what comes to the top of your mind.
- Then – generate your ideas
The aim is to generate new ideas using the 4 words you write down (and not the random entry point). Have fun with it! You may not get the same number of ideas for each of the 4 words, but don’t worry about it. Just try to generate as many ideas as you can. If you get stuck on any particular word – just move on. Write down every idea even if you’re unsure about it or it’s too far out of the box. You can review and reflect later.
Let me give you an example. Last week I wanted to come up with some new ways to promote my brand and get more visibility. That was my focus. I used the random photo generator and got the image below – an alarm clock. The 4 words that popped into my mind were “seven”, “digital”, “time” and “wake up”. And you can see some of my ideas below. There were many more as I gave myself 15 minutes thinking time but I can’t give all my secrets away – I’m already sharing this amazing tool!
I hope you see the benefits and why I love it:
- It’s easy to understand and use
- It doesn’t have to take very long. If you’re busy use as much time as you have. I have seen amazing ideas generated in just 2 minutes of brainstorming using the techniques.
- It’s great for both groups and individuals. Groups use simple voting to decide on the best ideas to take forward. But if you’re on your own like I am – you can review and decide what’s best at the end
- It really stimulates creativity and helps you think in a new way
- It’s enjoyable. Well – I certainly have quite a lot of fun doing it. I have even found myself laughing out loud when reading some the ideas I come up with when brainstorming.
So – give it a try! If you don’t skip right to fun, I promise you’ll at least have some new and creative ideas the end of it.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]