Here are the steps to consistently coming up with great ideas:
Step 1. Choose an area
This step is straightforward. Select the area that you would like to generate the idea in. Is it blog post ideas, local business ideas? Whatever it is, make sure you have clearly defined an idea area. Try to be as specific as possible. This is very important.
Step 2. Expose yourself to unexpected successes in it
With this step, you may have to go out exploring a little bit, depending on your idea area. Here you will be looking for surprisingly successful things. This could be a local pizza place that has recently opened and just so happens to be serving smoothies. And those smoothies are selling like hot cakes. You have to really be looking hard to spot these and they can sometimes be missed. But generally, you will be looking for things that look out-of-place in the area that you’ve chosen, but are performing well above expectations.
Step 3. Understand why they succeed. Let it all sink in.
This is probably the most difficult of all the steps, as it requires the most analysis. Generally, you can deduce the reasons why something is successful by simply speaking to people who like it and asking them why. This is even easier if the area you are in is in any way connected to social media. For example, with an unexpectedly successful blog post that is being shared a lot, all you would have to do is log onto Facebook or twitter and read the comments. You will likely get a good idea of why it worked.
Whenever you can, try to observe more than you ask questions. People often are not able to accurately articulate why they like or don’t like something very well, so generally observation will serve you better.
This step does require that you use your common sense and look around for clues. It’s tough, no doubt about it. But it’s the price you will have to pay, if you want to generate a great idea.
Don’t try to come up with ideas at this stage. You are just focused on gathering information and increasing your understanding of the opportunity. Let the background process in your head do its work.
Step 4. Have an idea quota; write ideas down
Now comes the action.
Every day, set out an idea quota within a period of roughly 45 minutes to an hour, where you do nothing but write down ideas about the area that you have chosen. If it’s a local business idea, then write 50 ideas on local businesses within that time frame. Don’t worry about how bad the ideas seem. Just write them down.
Try to be as religious as you can with this. And do it for about 10 days.
Step. 5. Pick the best ones.
Once you have gotten a fair number of ideas written down. Pick out the best ones and start analyzing them. Eliminate as many as you can.
Once you get down to about 10 ideas. You will likely have some pretty great ones in there. Use them and see how they perform. If they do well (and i think that they will), then that is great!