5 Ways to Find the Perfect Idea

Ideation and brainstorming are essential in business. How exactly do you find the perfect idea? When will you know it is the right idea? These super-simple brainstorming techniques will help you get there! 
17 November 2023

Written by: Natalie Walsh

My personal favorite way to ideate is to use a pen and post-it notes, however, there are countless online resources such as Jamboard, Miro, or even a simple word document that you can use to get started. 

100 Questions

This simple yet effective brainstorming technique is sure to get you to a fresh idea. The technique is very simple. First, you must ask yourself a question. An example could be “How do I make my office more fun?” From there you ask 100 questions related to the topic. Anything that comes to mind.

While 100 questions seem like a lot, it is important to write at least 100. There comes a point where you may feel urged to stop, but keep going. The more questions you get onto paper, the more insightful these questions become. If you write more than 100 questions you will find yourself in the area of discovery, and you will be able to find more unique answers. 

If you want to elevate the use of this tool, once you finish writing your minimum of 100 questions you can group and theme them into categories. Use any category name you like. This will help you to understand the patterns in your thinking and what might be the most important to you. 

5 Whys

This tool again begins with a question, and is used to determine the root of a problem. First, ask yourself a very general question and then answer it. From there you will take your answer to the first question and ask a more specific question. You continue asking a total of 5 questions, getting more specific with each question.  Simple, but effective.


C4 stands for clarify, capture, converge, and complete. Completing a C4 is done to determine a “more” proposition: “How can I get my sister a more thoughtful birthday gift?”, “How can I get more attention on my next Instagram post?”, “How can I make my commute to work more memorable?”

Step One: Clarify

What is your “more” proposition? Another way to make your “more” proposition more focussed is by giving it a time frame. For example, “How can I make my commute to work more memorable in the next week?” Giving a time frame allows you to push deeper when completing the next step.

Step Two: Capture the idea. 

Ideate by gathering lots of ideas on post notes, pen & paper, typing them, or whatever else you prefer. Go for a very high number of ideas here. It will certainly take longer but it will be worth it. Try and ideate until you lose steam or run out of ideas completely. The most important thing in this step is silencing your inner voice of judgement. Do not shy away from writing down ideas that seem outrageous or too risky. This is often where the best ideas come from.

Step Three: Convergence

Now it’s time to choose your idea! From here you will be asking “convergence questions”. These are used to narrow down your idea to best align with your “more proposition”. Which idea excited me? Which is the most meaningful? Which is the most risky? You will ask yourself lots of convergent questions in this process. Keep asking yourself these questions until you only have 1 or 2 ideas left on your list.

Step Four: Complete

Congrats! It’s time to bring your award-winning idea to fruition. After you complete the C4 in real life, it is important to reflect upon it for your personal growth. Consider asking yourself what worked? What didn’t? What would I do differently next time?

Six Hats

This tool is intended to be used among groups and boost productivity at group meetings. The six hats are all described by a different color, each color represents a different mindset members may channel. The blue hat is a planning hat that is used first to set the agenda. The person wearing the blue hat will lead the group throughout the process. The goal of six hats is to ideate in a more structured way.

Blue Hat

This is the organization hat. Only one person is the “blue hat”. The person who has this hat is the most organized and sets the boundaries for the meeting and time how long the group spends on each hat.

White Hat

The white hat is used to establish what you know about the project, need to know, and how you will find out what you need to know. It is important to go for quantity when brainstorming under these three questions. 

Red Hat

This hat deals with the emotional and intuitive part of people’s reactions. This hat is meant to express any and all emotions freely to the team.

Black Hat

This is the cautious hat. It is used as the “devil’s advocate” to increase concern surrounding an idea or project. This helps the group to not make poor decisions. 

Yellow Hat

The yellow hat is the positive hat. This hat focuses on the benefits and positives of the ideas.

Green Hat

The green hat is used to generate new ideas and to pivot. It is meant to flourish creativity and change. 

Bug list

This is a great tool to be used for new entrepreneurs. If you want to solve a problem and potentially start a business this is for you. It is very simple. All you have to do is write a list of things that bug or bother you. Examples could include when automatic sinks don’t work or when you can’t read the expiration date on a can. The list is truly endless. The best entrepreneurs pride themselves on their ability to problem find rather than problem solve, and this all starts with a bug list.