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Coming up with new ideas for products and gadgets is rarely a 'eureka moment' in quite the same way it's portrayed in popular culture. Rather than suddenly being hit by a ray of light and coming up with a brilliant idea right there on the spot, most of us find that ideas are more likely to develop and slowly take shape over time. As we talk about them, or muse on them they gradually evolve from concepts that aren't really workable or not all that useful, into something we start to really believe could be a big hit.

As such then you will rarely have an idea arrive fully formed into your mind and ready to go straight into manufacturing. Instead you will have it growing and developing in your brain like a foetus and it's your job to aid this process and to nurture it so that it will be able to grow into something great.

So how do you work on an idea that isn't fully formed yet and conceptualise something that may well still be a vague or mostly abstract concept at this point? Well that's where a number of mental tools can come in handy, here we will look at two of them.

Mind Maps

The first mental tool you might want to use for developing your ideas is the mind map. This is an idea you're probably familiar with, though the chances are you will have dealt with it mostly as a revision or memory aid rather than a way to develop ideas.

The popularity of the mind map stems from the fact that it mimics the way that the human brain works - by creating connections and associations that can be viewed as an interlinking web. For this reason it's ideal for developing an idea as it will allow you to fully explore your product's features and aspects to come up with ways to improve it and new ideas.

The way this might work would be to have a description of your product in the centre, and then to have related ideas coming out from it and further ruminations sprouting from those. This way you can follow your train of thinking, pose yourself questions, and generally work through the idea from a number of angles that results in a great visualisation of all the considerations.

Mood Boards

A mood board is essentially a type of collage where you attach lots of different images, words and photographs and is commonly used in art and design in order to start to get a visual feel for something that is going to be created. Far from just being useful for designers though, mood boards can be used to make all kinds of decisions and to conceptualise all kinds of abstract ideas.

For instance you might be able to use a mood board in order to get an idea of where you want your life to be in ten years and this is something you can accomplish by simply taking photographs of things you want to accomplish or to own, and writing words like 'confidence' and 'family'. The idea is to stay abstract so that you can create a 'feel' more than a specific direction and this can also be used as a way to communicate the kind of style you want for a project which otherwise would be very difficult to verbalize.

When it comes to creating a product or a gadget a mood board can be very useful for coming up with ideas and finalising the design and look and feel of your offering. For instance if you want to come up with a new gadget for the commercial space, you might start off by creating a mood board collage of all the different existing products that you want your design to be rubbing shoulders with, and once you've decided specifically what your gadget will do and who it will be aimed at you can then create another mood board filled with colours and textures and other elements to help you come up with a direction for your design and presentation.

These are just two examples of how using the right mental tools can help you to organize and develop your ideas but there are many more. Whatever strategies you use though, it's important to get your ideas out onto the paper so that you can develop them further and communicate them to other involved parties.

Author Bio:
Greg Fisher, the founder of Berkeley Sourcing Group. He has a strong affinity for creative writing and an undying allegiance to eco-friendly living. Do visit his site to know more about the injection mold manufacturing process.

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