40 Tips & Tricks for Getting in the Mood to Get Ideas – poster by Bryan Connor

I like the idea so much..the content and the design..  for detail please go to his blog : http://bryanconnor.com/2009/04/brain-shopping/

  1. Triangulate. Identify three sides of the problem, such as “audience,” “voice,” and “message.” Collect and organize ideas in these categories.
  2. Make a cube. Take an idea or problem and describe, compare, analyze (break down), associate, apply, and argue for and against it.
  3. If working in a team, assign a different side of the cube to each person.
  4. Think like a journalist. Ask who, what, when, where, why.
  5. Make a word salad. Write down every word you can think of that relates to the problem. Sort the words to discover patterns and ideas.
  6. Do a Google check. Who else has solved your problem?
  7. Go to the library. Books are packed with information and inspiration.
  8. Rewrite the problem. If the problem is “X,” change it to “Why?” Then Imagine the obvious solution. Now, imagine its opposite.
  9. Look for solutions you admire. Analyze why you admire them.
  10. Think like an interior decorator. Create a mood board with magazine clippings, fabric samples, snapshots, key words, etc.


  1. Find a place where you can pin up your ideas and look at them as a group.
  2. Apply thinking from another field to your problem. (“How would a zoologist design a backpack?” “How would a chef choose a color palette?”)
  3. If your problem is overwhelming (“end global warming” or “design a universal typeface”), break it down into smaller parts (“get people to walk more” or “design six letters”).
  4. Make a word map. Write down the problem on the middle of a piece of paper. Diagram everything you can think of about the problem (context, history, similar problems, competing ideas, available resources, etc).
  5. Write down every obvious solution you can think of in order to clear your mind for something new.
  6. Think like a curator. Collect everything you know about the problem. Display your data and look for meaningful patterns.
  7. Think like an anthropologist. Observe people doing an activity related to your problem (using a product, completing a task, taking the bus, etc.)
  8. Ask people what they like and don’t like.
  9. Ask people what they wish for.
  10. Ask people about their personal experiences.
  11. Find a place to think where you won’t be distracted by other tasks.
  12. Take a walk or take a shower.
  13. Go shopping.
  14. Drink tea.
  15. Eat less food. Digesting a big lunch consumes energy that your brain could be using to get ideas.
  16. Chew more gum. Research shows that chewing gum not only cleans your teeth but loosens up your mind and makes you smarter.
  17. Put all your ideas on index cards. Compare them. Sort them. Rank them.
  18. Think about your idea while falling asleep or waking up.
  19. Wear five hats. Evaluate an idea from five different perspectives. White=information (What are the facts?). Red=emotion (How does the idea make you feel?). Yellow=optimism (What’s great about the idea?). Black=pessimism (What’s wrong with the idea?). Green=growth (What are alternatives to the idea?). Blue=process (How is the evaluation process going?).
  20. Sketch. Make quick, simple diagrams of different ideas.
  21. Sketch in 3D. Make models with cardboard and tape instead of pencil and paper.
  22. Visualize the competition. Make a map showing where your problem, product, client, or concept sits in relation to similar or competing problems or ideas.
  23. Visualize the bigger picture. Make a diagram showing how your problem fits into larger systems. For example, a shopping bag relates to how people shop, how bags are manufactured and shipped, and what happens to bags when people are finished with them.
  24. Design a system or tool instead of an object or artifact.
  25. Compare and connect. Find metaphors for your problem.
  26. Empathize. Imagine yourself as the user, reader, or client.
  27. Simplify. Explain your idea in a single sentence.
  28. Set constraints. Cut down on brain clutter by limiting yourself to a particular material, size, vocabulary, etc.
  29. Recycle. A bad solution for one problem could be a good solution for another.
  30. When you hit a dead end, try again later

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