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Valuable Perspectives on How to Gain New Ideas for Product Development

Why is it that we go blank when we demand new ideas. Being an effective idea generator doesn't always mean that it is automatic... we have to put ourselves into a specific process, a creative process.

Synchiropus splendidus - Color Shifted 10 by greenwenvy08 (Photograph by © Luc Viatour GFDL/CC)

The first step to get your new ideas is to have certain things clear. One, is knowing where you stand. Architect George Papadopoulos puts it this way:

I am always trying to put out a message that my firm stands for certain values –such as bringing people back to nature and closer together, and creating environments where people can express themselves. I do this in practically the same way, as a company will market a consumer product."

Once you have decided what you are and specialize in, you'll already gain some ideas that are starting to bubble in your head, because no matter what you do, you'll find your niche inside most things. But if you haven't decided on where you stand, you won't know what to look for.

The best way to earn ideas is through research, and doing this productively:

"Don't stop researching and studying any and all influences. Know your field, and what has been done before. It's said that everything has been done, but I do think that there is an infinity of ideas to embrace, and its' just too easy to use "everything has been done" as an excuse. Understand your influences, likes and dislikes.....BUT seriously understand them. And that implies experimentation, fact finding and analysis", says architect Philip Michael Wolfson in an interview with DUDYE.

So what should you be looking for more carefully then, when working on your analysis? It's always important to challenge your perception of reality and re-ask yourself questions. Architect, Thomas Wiscombe, explains how he constantly asks "as if" while working:

...I do think it is important to always behave “as if”, by which I mean, behave as if everything I design will be built, as if my little office was a big office, as if I can compete with the gorillas in my field, as if it were just a matter of time before I get a significant commission. Otherwise you become a victim of self-fulfilling prophecy. Especially if you spend time in academia, which many young architects do. That can be a trap."

Don't put presupposed limits on your ideas as if you "know" what you can and cannot do. Ideas need to get free, so we must destroy all barriers of negative and limited thinking. Incorporate Wiscombe's idea of “as if” when idea generating.

Speed of action is a common principle you need to challenge yourself with. It's not a favorite principle, but practicing ideas as quickly as you get them will lead to results more quickly. This means that no matter if these are bad or good results, you will earn experience and a competitive way of working. Take designer Rie Isono's way of working as an example:

"I need to find the best solution to a problem within a certain time period, even if there’re limited materials to my usage. I also need to think about the background and necessity where the product will appear."

Sometimes when you really put short time-limits/deadlines to your work and idea-generation, your judging mind seem to get behind. It is “as if” you run right past the negations and toward the ideas that might scare or be downright irreverent. When these ideas bubble up, we get shocked, surprised and somewhat fearful. Why? Because they don´t conform to what is already there. And that is exactly where you should be. New.

Ocean Depths Creature by gnews pics

Finding Inspiration to Create

"My inspiration comes from everything I see and experience. Every artist takes in and synthesizes all of the information around him/her and then expresses new ideas based on an understanding and response to the things affecting each new work. I work from the inside-out not the outside-in. In many of the buildings we see today, 'architecture' is what falls off the building in an earthquake. It is applied and has nothing to do with an IDEA or the structure of that building. True architecture integrates all aspects of design and construction", architect Bart Prince.

Sometimes lack of motivation is a big factor in not getting many ideas. When you seem to have no desire or need to be creative, question your assumptions. Do you look at things as if they are static? Is your knowledge making you rigid and bored. Then throw that knowledge out. Most often when we think we know it all, we are often wrong, very wrong. Rejecting our own precious knowledge, which we have accumulated, can be liberating and at the same time leave space for the new. This process needs to be added to our way of work otherwise we become stagnant and our inspiration lost.

While you're out looking, try to get your buddies involved. Throwing ideas at each-other can be great fun and you may also stumble on something you all like. I often idea generate with my buddies while playing football, strange, yes, but it works for me. Do what works for you and don't sit by a idea generation table/white-board just because that's what everybody else is doing.

I am going to finish this with Albert Abut's ideas on inspiration, which I really liked:

"I dig inspiration from the past, from traditional houses adapted to their immediate climatologic and topographical environments by men for thousands of years, bring the result of such research into the present using all other sources of inspiration like product designs, music, clothing, technologies, forms designed by nature such as micro-organisms, etc... and innovate for the future. The aim of the game is to be able to realize timeless buildings. I don't think I'm there yet. But that's the idea. Not to follow any trends, any fashions but stay avant-garde, design conscious, realize the fruit of my own vision, my own style while giving as much as I can to human kind and to our real home: to planet earth."


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2 Comments


  1. ajay says:

    How to gain ideas to make new valuable product?

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