Researchers at MIT Sloan have figured out a framework to generate ideas that are actionable. The process they’ve come up with entails seven steps, beginning with these four, in order: 

1. Define the problem and solution space…Create boundaries in the idea-generation process.

2. Break the problem down. Use a visual technique, like diagramming.

3. Make the problem personal. How do you make a business problem personal? By getting down in the trenches and observing the individuals who are affected by the problem (and who would also be affected by your proposed solutions).

4. Seek the perspectives of outsiders. In other words, don’t solve the problem in a vacuum.

The ideas generated through this process work because the goal isn’t to simply come up with good ideas, it’s to come up with ideas that can move. Head over to to catch all seven steps of the process and then try the process on your own or with your team.

  • Crystal Eley

    Very useful.

    • tannerc

      Thanks Crystal, glad you found it helpful.

  • Josh LeBlanc

    Cool cool! I get too distracted sometimes. Short and to the point

    • tannerc

      Thanks Josh! Distractions can be troublesome, particularly for brainstorming sessions, unless you have a plan for combatting them. This is a start.

  • synchroma_com

    Great brief mantra to follow before starting any new project

    • tannerc

      I agree! Thanks for the comment.

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