Idea Bankruptcy: How to Create More and Ship Ideas Fast

Photo by Roy Reyna from Pexels

Imagination matters more than knowledge — because being clever doesn’t help much when you’re idea-bankrupt.

Creativity exposes you to ideas whereas cleverness sorts of traps you inside walls of logic and analysis. Life’s easier when you’re creative.

But how do you know whether you’re creative?

If yes, you don’t need a certificate to prove how creative you are. It’s for you to know, not others. And even if you’re not sure, you improve as you work, gradually.

So, why are we talking about it though? Because our work involves coming up with ideas.

Quick disclaimer: I work in advertising so this post might not be relevant for everyone. But you can still continue to read, curious stranger.

Ideas that you believe in feel good

You can’t control whether your ideas get chosen or thrashed — but you know it in your heart when you do a good job. Then, it’s easier to move on and try again.

But it doesn’t always happen

It often doesn’t coordinate with you — especially when you need it the most. Sometimes you bring forth something great and other times you’re clueless.

This doesn’t work when you’re a professional who’s supposed to come up with ideas (in an environment where ‘no matter what’ is a given).

Work gets tricky.

So, you need a way out

You’re anxious but nothing’s popping up in your bricklike head.

“I wish I were more like that beanie-wearing copywriter across my desk,” you pray and sigh. But complaining doesn’t help and you go back to squeezing your forehead.

Guess what? This isn’t a rare instance and it happens often to all of us. We all suffer from the lack of ideas and imagination — the ultimate idea-bankruptcy.

You can devise ways to get you through crises like this. Or simply said, the inadequacies shouldn’t stop you from doing your work right.

Here’s a list of ways to create more and ship ideas fast

Either you fill the paper and show up … it’s okay if it’s slightly interesting stuff. Or you present a mediocrity filled page and risk making a fool out of yourself.

They say that great ideas are born amid a lot of friction, questioning, and leisure. But until that utopian, lazy day arrives, let this list help you.

1. Browse pictures

Visuals easily stimulate your imagination. Your brain connects the dots easily. Look at a few visuals for long enough and your neurons get excited.

Open Google. Type your query imaginatively. Open image search. And then scroll, scroll, and scroll.

It works.

2. Visualize your audience’s life

Think of the kid who chews that pencil in his school. Or that businessperson who keeps forgetting his sunglasses. You’d see that persona come alive and empathize with him even more.

Meditate — assume that you’re the persona that you put on that slide. Think of some pain points and relevant stuff. Does that clear your doubts?

It’s easier to relate with people when you empathize with them instead of just vivisecting all that they usually do or say.

3. Read lots of quotes and opinions

The world is full of weird and fascinating opinions. Chances are that people have already said something insightful about the topic you’re browsing.

Hopefully, the internet lays it all in front of you in a click.

Browse for soap quotes, lipstick quotes, cement quotes and you’ll definitely find something interesting. At least, it will be enough to kickstart your work.

Tip: Use Reddit — subreddits like #NoStupidQuestions.

4. Have some out of the blue conversations

Bother them with questions, ask for their opinions, or have random chats with people as you walk around with your notepad.

Occasionally you’ll find something a person said interesting on a given topic and it will be worth considering.

Those out of the blue conversation reveal ideas when you chisel them a little. Treat these interactions like experimentative, mini focus groups.

5. Fill the paper with all junk and one relevant thing

Then fill your paper with random stuff. Say, diary, grass, phenyl, and diamonds. Now mix all of those.

Doubting my intellect? That’s how Josy Paul does it. The last time I asked him for advice, he asked me to mix Haiku and Samosas.

That’s lateral thinking — no matter how idiotic it sounds.

With the above example, you might end up with an air conditioner whose electricity consumption can be tracked daily, or a design that has a glassy, diamondlike finish.

6. Escape your comfortable mousetrap

Having a routine place doesn’t harm much but it gets boring. It obstructs your thinking. Even psychology backs this. The cure? Get out with a notepad and a pen and take a breath of fresh air.

Roam around a little and come back (if your schedule, boss, and clients allow that). You’ll think of something.

7. Watch people complain and sob

Complaining people and dissatisfied folks everywhere. Hopefully, these random comments turn out to be a goldmine of genuine concerns that hold back brands.

People tell the problems they face. They share why they think a product sucks. You only need to listen — and then the clients have to act.

What next?

Then ask yourself if you’ve put enough effort and heart into it. The answer will be an honest No or Yes — then assess it again until you believe in the ideas you’ve written.

And if what’s laid in front of you still doesn’t satiate your expectations — make a list of go-to ideas that you can fall back on next time, when you feel unimaginative. Or ask others — how do they do it?

There’s no process though.