Home > Study: Everybody can become a better idea generator
Everybody can make himself better at creating ideas. People can increase their creativity by improving their knowledge about the topic ideas should be generated about, practising a range of idea-generation methods, making efforts to create a lot of ideas and having the right attitude, says Lassi Liikkanen, a researcher from Helsinki Institute for Information Technology HIIT. Liikkanen has just finished his PhD on creating ideas in conceptual design.
In his thesis, Liikkanen modelled the idea-generation process. For him creating ideas means that a person processes memorized information and combines it in new ways.
According to Liikkanen, results improve if the person obtains more background information on the topic. The more a person knows about the topic and can learn from others, the more chances he has to make novel combinations of knowledge.
Quantity improves quality
Secondly, one has to make lot of effort to generate ideas. Creating ideas is no different to other work: if you work a lot, you get more results. And if there are lots of results, you are more likely to find good results.
- When creating ideas, the quantity of work improves the quality of the end result, Liikkanen says.
Studying idea-creation methods pays back
Thirdly, it is worth studying different methods for creating ideas. Well-known methods are, for instance, brainstorming, TRIZ, six thinking hats, synectics and morphological analysis.
If one does not know the methods well, he is unable to use them efficiently and misses the optimal results. When a person knows the method and practises using it systematically, results are much better, says Liikkanen.
Different idea-generation methods serve different kinds of needs. In addition, studying literature and creating prototypes may be a part of the idea-generation process.
- It is worth testing different methods to find out which ones suit you the best, says Liikkanen.
One has to tolerate uncertainity
An idea generator should have the right attitude. If you think there is only one correct solution to each challenge, you considerably restrict your ablitity to create ideas. The ability to tolerate uncertainity is part of creating ideas, Liikkanen reminds us. Tolerance does not guarantee creativity, but is a precondition to it.
You have to remember that creating ideas is only the first stage of the life span of an idea. A good idea should be supported and strengthened. To get an invention or even innovation from an idea, one has to commit oneself to implementing the idea, Liikkanen reminds us.
Helsinki Institute for Information Technology HIIT is a joint research institute of Aalto University and the University of Helsinki for basic and applied research on information technology.
For more information:
Lassi Liikkanen, researcher
Helsinki Institute for Information Technology HIIT
lassi.liikkanen * hiit.fi
Tel. +358 50 384 1508
 http://Study: Everybody can become a better idea generator
Last update: 16 Mar, 2010. Page content by: Visa Noronen.