Anton Ischenko

Generating Ideas – how to become a creative ideas machine

Skip to section:

There are many proven ways to boost your creativity and open an endless stream of ideas in your mind. Generating ideas is a hard job, but it might get even harder if you don't know how to get yourself back on track if there's a vacuum inside your head.

Ideation is quite an abstract and ephemeral matter, but you can come closer using different tips and techniques. The idea generation definition is quite unclear yet clear at the same moment - you simply sit and generate ideas. What can be easier? However, what to do if there's some kind of a block? What to do if you have generated dozens of ideas but you don't know what is next? Or what to do when all of your ideas seem not to have potentia?

Let's answer all of these questions, find out how to develop your existing ideas into something that can bring revenue, and learn how to use different idea-generation techniques to be even more effective.

xTiles is here to help with the proceass from the beginning, when the light bulb only appears near your head, till the end, when you admire the result. We're here to help with the idea management process, creative thinking, and challenges that might occure.

Idea generation process

There are different idea-generation techniques. None of them is better than the others. However, some of them might not work for you, your particular case, or the way you think and explore this world. Be ready to try a few methods before you stop on one or use a few at the same time for generating ideas requires flexibility.

Idea generation encompasses both divergent and convergent thinking. Divergent thinking involves exploring a wide range of possibilities and considering diverse, even unconventional, ideas without judgment. On the other hand, convergent thinking involves analyzing and synthesizing different ideas, evaluating their strengths and weaknesses, and converging on the most promising or feasible solutions.

The idea-generation process will be pretty much the same for all kinds of tasks and projects. Sometimes, some steps can be skipped without harm to the concept.

  1. Conduct research
  2. Look for inspiration everywhere and all the time
  3. Meditate
  4. Give yourself space and time
  5. Have a journal
  6. Make a habit of writing all of your ideas and thoughts
  7. Create a mood board
  8. Brainstorm responsibly
  9. Don't be afraid to ask questions
  10. Go in the other direction (reverse thinking)
  11. Don't think about why one idea is bad, but how to make it better

Let's take a closer look at each of them. But before we start, please remember that generating ideas is not always a consequence of natural creativity but deep awareness and understanding of the subject. It might be a spontaneous yet brilliant thought that appears literally from nowhere, but usually, it's a product of studying and research. In other words, ideas need a base to be built.

1. Conduct a research
xTiles Bookmarks template

Research is just the beginning, yet it is an inevitable stage of any ide generation process. Sometimes a small piece of information might be what you lack to come up with a great idea. The better you understand the subject, the easier it will be to look at it from a different perspective and find connections that might be funny or interesting.

This tip also lowers the intensity of ideation, helping you to relax and distract from the main task. Besides, it's always great to learn something new whatever you do.

You may come across worthy information unpurposed by surfing the internet. However, since our social media is mostly for personal use, mixing videos of corgis struggling with stairways and thought-provoking content, scrolling further might not be the wisest decision.

It's good to save any content that you think you may use for work later. You may use the xTiles Bookmarks template to have everything in one place and structured. You may review this document from time to time to delete what isn't relevant anymore or to give something a second thought.

2. Look for inspiration everywhere and all the time

how to generate an ideas
Research brief template

Many would say that inspiration is within us, but usually, for effective idea generation you need to look everywhere, especially if you struggle to create innovative concepts and solutions for a long time.

Listen to that song that has been on repeat recently more carefully. Read its lyrics. Or go back and listen to what made you smile a year ago. Having a playlist is a great way to create comfortable circumstances for ideation within an environment that doesn't support your creativity.

If you're a writer and generating ideas for stories is your everlasting fight, read more books and watch more films related to your writing style and preferred theme. Write down twists or lines you like. Some might consider it plagiarism or stealing, yet it's impossible to come up with something entirely new these days, but it's more than possible to build something unique on the base we already have, making it really special thanks to your perspective and talent.

Listen to what people are saying on the streets. You won't get more than a sentence or a couple of words, but they might help you come up with something interesting. There always are potential areas to explore.

Take a seat at your favorite cafe on the terrace or near a window and watch people. Try to imagine what comedies, dramas, tragicomedies, or even thrillers hide behind their hurrying into infinity figures.

3. Meditate

It is said that some people's minds are like a monkey – keeps jumping from one branch (thought) to another without stopping. It might be good, and it might be bad, depending on whether you're able to control it for idea generation.

Meditation helps you keep your mind concentrated on one thought to get it thoroughly considered. You may make meditation a part of your daily routine or use it only when you need to think. However, please don't assume that if you can't make your monkey stop, great ideas won't flash into your mind. This inclination might be used to your advantage too.

You can use various techniques to meditate to overcome potential hurdles. Some of the most popular ways to come up with fresh ideas are mindfulness meditations, focus meditations, movement meditation or walking meditations.

4. Give yourself space and time

It's hard to think under pressure, and it's almost impossible to be creative forcefully. When you see that there's no chance that marvelous idea is going to come to your mind, just relax. Maybe you're overwhelmed with the information.

Ideation and brainstorming aren't easy, and most likely, your mind needs some rest.

Your brain may need to get a little bit distracted. Show it something else to concentrate on, and creative solutions might come on their own.

Go to the movies, take a walk in the park or forest, or have a power nap. Yes, sleeping is a great way to boost your creativity. We know many cases when some of the greatest creators got their best ideas on sleep. For example, Leonardo da Vinci used to fall asleep in his chair purposely while holding a massive key. The key slid from his hand and woke him up, so he couldn't dive too deep into his dreams and forget what they were about.

5. Have a digital journal
xTiles journaling template

Have you ever felt that there's some concept in your mind you can't catch or outline? That might be because of a lack of connection and understanding of what is happening inside your head. Maintaining a connection with yourself and your feelings is important for better recognition of your thoughts, and the xTiles journaling template may become a way to establish these links.

You may also get a journal of your dreams if you struggle with generating story ideas. Note everything you dream about immediately after waking up so you won't miss too much of what might become helpful for your future story. Some famous stories like Mary Shelley' Frankenstein or Joseph Heller's Catch-22 emerged from the authors' dreams.

6. Make a habit of writing all of your ideas and thoughts

Have you ever spotted that good ideas usually pop up in your mind when you aren't even trying? And the bad thing is that sometimes the lifespan of an idea is a couple of seconds. It may vanish faster than it appeared, leaving you powerless and angry while heading to your notebook. 

We recommend using the device that is with you 99% of the time you're awake. Use your smartphone and xTiles mobile app to save all the ideas that have potential.

Additionally, you may get yourself the xTiles Web Clipper to save everything interesting you come across surfing on the internet. You will be able to go back to them in your desktop version and start working on their development using the needed templates.

7. Create a mood board
xTiles Moodboard template

This idea generation technique is among many actionable strategies that will take longer as you will have to reconnect with yourself and how you feel about the subject. However, it's a perfect tool in the long run for keeping a constant stream of innovative solutions, fresh ideas, and interesting concepts. Additionally, it will help with managing ideas after you have them outlined.

It's also great for outlining a story plot and thinking about its theme, atmosphere, and mood.

Normally, you will need to find appealing pictures from a pile of magazines and place them together. Instead, use the xTiles Moodboard template. It allows you to gather not only visual concepts of your subject but also audio and video. Having a mood board for certain tasks, you can go back to reconnect with your initial idea whenever you think the link is lost.

8. Brainstorm responsibly
xTiles individual brainstorming template

Brainstorming is the process of ideas generation when they are needed. It's not about forcing yourself but rather about switching on your natural creativity at a certain moment.

Brainstorming is the most common approach to coming up with new ideas and developing existing solutions that lack some spark. For many in marketing, writing, advertising, etc., it keeps being the only option. However, a bare brainstorming session without any other additional tools or applied approaches might be pretty useless. Unless you want to test how strong bounds, respect, and tolerance for others' opinions inside your team are.

Brainstorming with your team is somehow harder and easier than on your own. You may get help when you've got blocked, or you may get some amazing insight from others' thoughts, and vice versa. Your team mates will help you to look on your potential ideas from diverse perspectives when you can't see flaws of them. However, you all might rush into chaos because the number of bad ideas is increasing with the number of people who work on them.

Brainstorming tips and techniques

Sometimes, coming up with something fresh might take days or even weeks. During this time, you will think about millions of things to find what is really great, and it's important not to miss them. Every thought is an element of a puzzle. To get the whole picture, you need all of them. That's why we suggest using the xTiles individual brainstorming template to keep everything noted.

You can also try the Idea Challenge method within your brainstorming sessions. Outline a problem and let everyone think about how to solve it. Another great technique is role playing. Your team's assignment is to deeply understand and embody the perspectives of various target groups. These groups could encompass potential new customers as well as individuals currently utilizing your services.

The number of bad or useless ideas always prevails. However, they might be considered lousy only because they aren't relevant right now. That's why keeping track of what was “born” during your brainstorming sessions is important.

9. Don't be afraid to ask questions
xTiles Creative brief template

How could we generate an idea out of nothing? The light bulb might not appear if you have a bare minimum of information. So, ask as many questions as possible till the point they think you're annoying.

If you work with a customer, it's not always easy to get the information you need. When a person knows everything about a project or product, they might not consider something particularly interesting. Also, they might not be aware of current market trends. Most companies stick to the ideas they developed at the beginning and refuse new opportunities and possibilities due to different reasons. Usually, because they don't suit their perseption of the company.

You, who know nothing about it, at least so far, are here to take a look from another angle, and to do it, you need facts. You may use the xTiles Creative brief template or our Research brief template to get everything you need to generate new ideas and keep the stuff together.

10. Go other direction

Reverse thinking may become a great addition to your team brainstorming session and a way of problem solving you've been looking for. This technique is rarely used as the first step in creating new ideas, but it might help you if you've got stuck.

As you may assume from the name, you need to turn everything upside down. Go the exact opposite of your initial thought.

When a person or a team works on a certain idea for a long time, they might become obsessed with some thoughts. This technique is good for shaking you, like good stretching after a long time in a car. It doesn't guarantee success, but it will be easier to start the traditional ideation process again with new perspectives.

11. Don't think about why one idea is bad, but how to make it better
xTiles Disney creative strategy template

Adequate evaluation of your or others' ideas is the key to getting the idea that will work. It's easier to consider an idea a bad one and forget about it for good than to find out why it has disadvantages and what to do about it. Many potentially good ideas might disappear if you keep using such an approach.

One may estimate the idea using the xTiles Disney creative strategy template. It will help you take a look at a current concept from three points of view – dreamers, realizers, and critics. If you work on a team, you might divide it into three clusters. However, it might be better to go over each of them together so that you will get more thought on the subject.


An idea itself isn't everything, and raw ideas are usually overestimated. Even the best idea would be nothing without thoughtful planning, efficient management, and smooth and adequate implementation.

Another important point is that an idea isn't equal to a finished product development, even though they are inseparable. The distance from the moment an idea flashes upon somebody's mind till the product is ready is pretty long. And when people consider their ideas bad, that's usually because the execution is bad, not the idea itself.

An existing idea that is outlined and well thought-out is more valuable than a hundred ephemeral concepts you can't describe.

Please, don't give up if it seems like you can't come up with a single good idea. If there is a crossroad between talent and gained skills, idea generation and creativity definitely lie somewhere there. And, what works for one person, might not work for another, so don't get disappointed if the first technique or tip you tried has turned out to be useless.

xTiles will assist you with finding your way and your unique approach, and who knows what might happen – maybe your idea will define the world of the future.


1. What is idea generation?

Idea generation is the process of creating, developing, and exploring new and innovative ideas or concepts. It involves tapping into one's creativity and engaging in divergent thinking to generate a wide range of possibilities.

2. How to generate ideas?

There are various techniques to generate ideas, such as conducting research, seeking inspiration, meditating, journaling, creating mood boards, brainstorming, asking questions, and employing reverse thinking. Different approaches may work better for different individuals or projects.

3. How do you turn existing ideas into something worthy?

To turn existing ideas into something worthy, you need to evaluate and refine them through convergent thinking, considering their strengths and weaknesses, and converging on the most promising or feasible solutions. Tools like the Disney creative strategy can help in this process.

4. What do I need for idea generation-sessions?

For effective idea-generation sessions, you may need tools like a digital journal or note-taking app to capture ideas, templates for brainstorming or mood boards, and an open-minded, non-judgmental approach to explore diverse possibilities without immediately dismissing them as bad.

generating story ideas
Free Web Clipper Extension for Chrome
Before xTiles
Constantly switched between two different apps for task management and journaling.
Annoyed that his digital files were all over the place with no clear organization.
Felt a bit scattered using many different tools to manage his daily tasks.
With xTiles
Delighted with his personal task management and journaling template that is customized to fit his needs.
Pleased with how his documents are organized and how quickly he can retrieve any specific file he’s looking for.
Feels focused and organized using only one tool to plan and manage his life.
Skip to section:

What is xTiles ?

Organize digital content
Organize digital content
Combine images, links, and text in one Simple, Flexible, Customizable space.
Personal dashboard
Personal dashboard
Easy to use and flexible canvas based on blocks, tiles, and tabs.
Team Hub
Team Hub
Create visual projects for digital planning and task management.
Choose the templates that are right for you. Create your first relevant dashboard in 1 minute.
Public page
Public page
Sharing, real-time collaboration
and editing.
Free up your creativity by taking advantage of the web and mobile apps synergy.


Can’t find the answer here? Contact support
No items found.