Andrew Skotzko

Impact entrepreneur & product strategist

Why People Suck At Generating Ideas

Because they’re always asking the wrong question: “How?”

“How can we get there first?”

“How can I have more sex?”

“How can we beat Google?”

“How can I get his attention?”

“How can we get more press?”

“How can we increase our profits?”

“How can I lose 20 pounds?”

“How can we do this cheaper?”

“How can we get more users?”

“How” is the wrong question when trying to generate ideas.

It’s the wrong question because “How?” asks for a single answer, the best answer.

Framing the question this way for your brain short-circuits divergent thinking, which is what we need more of.

Far more effective to ask, “In what ways could we __?” or “What are some ways we could __?”

It’s a subtle change and WILL feel cheesy the first time you try it.

But this subtle change makes all the difference in the quantity of ideas you generate. And quantity of ideas leads to quality of ideas. So get brainstorming and make something interesting.

 
January 2013
 

Newsletter: Products That Matter

I send out a monthly newsletter for the curious. It covers interesting sightings in technology, social impact, product development, and anything else that's blown my mind lately. It's my notebook for the month.

Addresses are stored properly (using Mailchimp) and will only be used for this list.