How to Create Hundreds of Great Ideas Without Brainstorming Any Ideas

Using crowdsourcing and co-innovators and co-creators is one of the simplest ways to solve problems and create a community of people interested in your solution.

Your customers are not just your community; they can also be your co-innovators and co-creators. You just need to ask them for help, and yes, you’d be surprised how many will put their hand up to help. 

Delving into crowdsourcing for your next set of big ideas can be as simple as sending out an email to your existing community and asking them to help solve a pressing problem. On the other extreme, it can be using a propriety crowdsourcing platform to handle it for you.

But first up, there are some pros and cons to crowdsourcing.


Cons
Confidentiality

Confidentiality and ownership of the idea/s can sometimes put a lot of people off running a crowdsourcing event. To counter this, make sure you lay out some simple terms and conditions that states who owns what and the sort. 

Groupthink
Many of the crowdsourcing platforms have voting options. Just because an idea doesn't get lots of votes doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea. Counter this groupthink by having a fair and transparent idea assessment tool that you can use to assess the ideas objectively without bias. Feel free to reach out to us if you need help with creating one for your organisation.

Lame ideas
Some organisations will complain about lame ideas when, in reality, they should look at the quality of the challenge or problem they are proposing to their audience. The more specific the parameters and focus of your question/ challenge, the better your ideas will be. Be specific about what it is and isn’t what you can and can’t do. And give them some context, who’s going to be using it, where, when, and how etcetera.

The time of sorting through all the ideas
This can take time but can be made easier off you ask people to submit their ideas mentioning the criteria you have asked them address. E.g., Ease of implementation, Market needs, Potential return, etc. Using a scoring system will help streamline this activity.

Pros
You can get good ideas fast

People are happy to share ideas, and it's usually because they’re looking for some relief from a dreary day. Even more, because people see your problems from a different perspective, their answers or solutions will often solve the problem more effectively because they haven’t been limited by biases or conventions.

Promotion and marketing
You are generating interest in your future product/ service solution in your organisation.
Meaning you are building a stronger, more loyal, and more significant community of would-be customers and advocates for your business. You also will have some great stories to utilise in your marketing strategy.

You can get people working for you for a tiny sum.
Challenges or competitions don’t cost much
- it can be as little as the platform cost (usually a subscription for the year) and some small prizes. Funnily enough, most people enter these for curiosity and recognition versus remuneration. Think recognition versus reward. 

Here are some of the top crowdsourcing sites at the time of writing

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Conclusion

Crowdsourcing can be worth pursuing if you're short on time and resources. However, if you want to make sure you're not wasting time sorting through endless ideas. Have an objective sorting process, be specific about what type of ideas you want and any conditions of what they can or can't do.

Finally, think of getting your community to self assess their ideas for you, by asking them to consider how the idea solves the problem, how easy it will be to implement, and the possible return of investment.

I hope this helps. Feel free to reach out for some group or one-on-one mentoring support to help you innovate.

Cheers,

Nils

Nils Vesk



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About Nils Vesk


He's the founder of Ideas With Legs.

His  clients call him a Reinvention Renegade. Nils Vesk is an international authority on innovation and the inventor of the ‘Innovation Archetypes Process’.

Around the globe, leading companies such as Nestle, HP & Pfizer turn to Nils to share his unique game changing innovation techniques for formulating commercial insights, ideas, extraordinary customer experiences and irresistible products. Nils unpacks the million-dollar innovation principles used to create rapid growth for the future.

Nils is the author of a number of books including "Ideas With Legs - How to Create Brilliant Ideas and Bring Them to Life", and "Innovation Archetypes - Principles for World Class Innovation".

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