10 Tips For Generating Creative Ideas
by keerut singh oberai and arjan Singh bhullar
1. The more ideas the better
Not every idea is going to be a great one but the more you generate the more chance you have of coming across a good one. If you’ve got a large committee get each member to put forward a few ideas and you’ll have a long list to choose from in no time!
2. Bounce ideas off each other
From my experience bouncing ideas off other committee members is a great way to innovate, with each member having their own unique perspective and ideas to add. Furthermore, other people may see faults in your proposal which will help identify and eliminate them helping you improve and evolve your plans. To do this you need to make sure that you create an environment in which people feel comfortable to share their ideas. Adopt the mentality that ‘no idea is a bad idea’ and you won’t go far wrong.
3. Be Brave! Get outside your comfort zone
This one is incredibly important. Don’t be afraid to push the boundaries and try new things. So long as it has a reason and a purpose new ideas, no matter how whacky, can help generate some excitement surrounding your event. I remember at Liverpool Sikh Society doing a grand entrance in our annual quiz event accompanied by the Rocky theme tune music. Despite the initial embarrassment I felt as I walked in and urged the crowd to make some noise, it was a great way to set the tone for the whole evening. After that, everyone was more relaxed and willing to get involved in the many challenges and quiz questions we had.
4. Be a copy cat!
As the old saying goes “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!” Some ideas and events work well and there’s no harm in copying them or taking elements of them and incorporating them into your creative process adding your own unique twist or take on them. If you find that you generally struggle for ideas this is often a great place to start and can provide the inspiration you need to get your creative juices flowing.
5. Be yourself and be passionate
Find something that you really care about and are passionate about and use that to inspire you. You’ll find that when you do this you’ll automatically put more energy into it and find it easy to come up with ideas. Something that I love is food so when thinking of volunteering events that’s where I started. From there I began to think about how to combine this with the practice of Langar and feeding those in need. This led to volunteering at local organisations that feed the homeless, a cooking for the homeless event in which we made food for those in need and finally the BOSS cookbook. My passion for food and helping others meant that I poured all my energy into making these events a success and engaging to our members. So, I urge you to find things that drive or motivate you and see where they can take you.
6. Become an expert
It is always important to put some research into what you are working on. During our inter-society blood drive, we researched all there was to know about donating blood which heavily influenced our advertising campaign for the event. We centred it around the fact that just one donation could save three lives and that donating took no more than 20 or so minutes. This simple yet amazing fact worked wonders and generated great interest in the event. Furthermore, people saw how easy it was to save lives and all they had to do was give up a small amount of their time. This research may have taken some time but it produced great results. The same is true if you’re working with other organisations. Find out about what they do and why they do it. They’ll be impressed that you went the extra mile to find out this information and it will help build up a good relationship with them.
7. Be Ambitious + 8. Never be satisfied
Numbers 7 and 8 I believe are closely linked. As I’ve alluded to earlier in this piece it is important to always be ambitious and strive to continuously improve and innovate. Sometimes when you take a risk on an ambitious event it may not pay off but it is important not to be too disheartened. Take some time to reflect on the event. What went well? What could have gone better? How are you going to improve if you run the event again? When reflecting on these questions it is important to be honest with yourself and always great to get feedback from events. We ran a cooking event in which we hired out a kitchen space to make food for the homeless. After weeks of preparation the event came around and despite our hard work less than a handful of people came to the event. On reflection, we found that those that were there enjoyed it but not enough people had heard of the event. Furthermore, many people got in touch with saying that they were unable to make it because the event was too early in the morning and on a Sunday. We stuck with the event as it was something we believed in and for a great cause. We made sure we promoted the event well in advance, invited other societies to join us and arranged it for an evening on a weekday. Suffice to say, the turnout was better than we could have imagined and the event went on to be a great success with lots of food prepared for those in need along with donation to a local charity.
9. Get the right person for the job
You may find that your ideas are limited by your skills or those of your committee. This can mean that a fantastic idea can go to waste which is a great shame. One way to remedy this is to find someone who has the skills or know how that you need; whether this is a mutual contact or whether it is someone that you have researched. For example, if you want to make a video blog or video of your event but don’t have the film making capabilities why not see if your university has a film making society who would like to help. This kind of lateral thinking can be labour intensive but pays dividends in the long run.
10. Do what works best for you
The previous nine tips are things that I have found to be helpful in the past but ultimately there is no set guide for coming up with creative ideas so do what works best for you. Whether it’s making mindmaps, watching talks online or even just taking a walk there is no wrong answer. All I would say is be bold, be confident and be innovative. Everyone is capable of coming up with amazing ideas and you are no different so good luck!