You can approach the invention process modularly. Not unlike a builder, you work the idea through prefabricated units with standardized dimensions. And that allows for an easy assembly and flexible arrangement of information.
INNOVATION FRAME — A system for pursuing invention systematically rather than sporadically
If you're trying to come up with cool ideas to activate your customer bases, your team can start by framing your work with four questions. What is the problem? What is the innovative idea? How does it work? What is it called? Once you filter your ideas and research and insight into these modules, it's amazing how much easier it becomes to fully flesh out your ideas.
Here's a case study of this tool for one of my product ideas. Food thievery is a rampant problem in offices, dorms and other places with communal fridges. But warning labels and passive aggressive notes don't work. That’s our problem. The second question is about innovation itself. Which means the idea should be able to move the whole company or even the whole society to the next level, not just be an interesting improvement that helps one department or area. Back to our food thievery problem. My solution would be to invent a refrigerator spy camera disguised as a baking soda air filter. Think about it. None of your coworkers, not even the anal retentive office manager, will think to replace or suspect the box. Baking soda stays in the fridge for years. Okay, question number three is about functionality. This is where the rubber meets the road, quite literally in some cases. You have to unlock yourself out of the right brained, blue sky thinking, and ground your idea in the harsh light of practicality. It’s like walking from the marketing department over to the engineering department. Therefore, building on our previous problem and solution, this is how my refrigerator spy camera will help put an end to food thievery. The camera’s live stream can be accessed via your mobile phone or web browser. And if you suspect someone in the office is going to sneak a piece of your delicious cold pizza, now you can catch the lunch thief in action and confront them. And finally, the last question is my favorite because it involves naming and branding the idea. Think of it as a the clever bow you tie on your innovative box. It’s the punctuation mark at the end of your invention that makes people smile, nod their heads in agreement, slam their fist down on the table and say, let’s green light this product.
Creativity doesn't have to be sporadic, it can be systematic. No need to wait for lighting to strike. Use this tool to build the frame into which your innovation exists. Are you wasting time trying to start from scratch?