Ideas are what drive entrepreneurs forward. They form the basis for great businesses and fuel meaningful changes in those business’s trajectories by offering new products, new improvements and other features to outdo the competition.

1. Brute force

The brute-force model is probably the strangest on this list, because it defies the intuitive notion of what an “idea” is. In this model, you’ll be trying to force yourself to come up with a new solution or premise with no outside help. This usually includes some kind of branching pattern — you’ll start with a concept, imagine all the ways it can apply itself and see if there are any opportunities for improvement. If not, you’ll move on to the next concept, and so on.

2. Inspiration

Inspiration comes in many forms, but they all share a fundamentally common point of development — something outside your mind sparks you to think in a new direction, or in a new way, and eventually, you land on a significant idea.

3. Collectivism

Collectivism is a model most of us are familiar with. A group of people get together to brainstorm, sharing different perspectives and thoughts that eventually culminate in a group-generated direction or solution. There are many advantages to collectivism. It has more force and direction than the inspiration method, it eliminates the single-minded biases of the brute force method, and it can work out the early kinks of an idea before it fully develops.

4. A hybrid model

The fourth method is some combination of the above three. For example, you might ask your teammates to brute-force some early concepts before coming to a group brainstorming session, or you might take some time to become “inspired,” then use brute force to flesh those ideas out.

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