People often ask me how do you come up with ideas? I was thinking about this recently and came up with the following tips.

Exercise your brain: Have a learning mindset, learn about new things and read about things that aren’t in your regular world. Be open minded and receptive to everything you see, there is inspiration all around you.

Simmer. When I get stuck, I park the idea, particularly at bed time and let it cogitate in the back of my mind. I often wake up with a solution, so make sure you take a pen and paper to bed! I once read, “Great ideas come when you aren’t trying to think of them”. So don’t sit with a blank pen and paper trying to find a solution, go and do something else entirely different.

Exercise your body: When we exercise, all kinds of endorphins are released, I call them the ‘happy hormones’. This state of mind is perfect for idea generation. I get some of my best ideas when I am out on my regular Saturday run. I ran the Great South Run at the weekend and the ten mile road race gave me plenty of time to think up some new marketing ideas.

Find some creative buddies: Two heads are better than one is a very true saying and finding other creative people to bounce ideas off and observe how they work is a super way to generate ideas.

How do you make ideas stick?

Once we get ideas, to be successful we have to turn them into reality. We have coined a new phrase and formalised our innovation process – it’s called ‘paper to plate’.

We start by getting all the ideas down on paper and organise them so they can be evaluated, this involves some rationalisation of the concepts before we decide which ideas to develop prior to planning the implementation. We have a team who work through this and using Belbin’s team types we make sure we have the right people working on the right stages. As you can imagine, the Plants kick things off, followed by the Shapers. The Monitor/Evaluators cast their discerning eye over everything and the Completer/Finishers polish and perfect the ideas.

It’s great to have ideas but if you don’t execute them they’re worthless. Let me know if you have tried and trusted ways to get your ideas off the ground.

Lin Dickens, Business Development Director, bartlett mitchell

Shortlisted for FSM Marketing and Innovation Award 2013

My earliest food memories are of my mum’s baking; coconut pyramid cakes were my favourite.

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