A Creative Method For Brainstorming Ideas

by Steve Scott | Join Him On Facebook

I do some of my best thinking when I’m running.

There’s something about the act of exercising that allows my mind to come up with creative solutions to any problem I’m experiencing. Usually what happens is I’ll think of a simple one sentence about my predicament, lace up my shoes, and hit the pavement.

Then after an hour or so of running, I’ll come back with a list of possible to solutions this problem.

Now I’m not saying that this is the only way to brainstorm ideas. In fact, there’s a simple way you can apply this concept without getting all sweaty.

“What If I…”

My running to brainstorm’ technique is based on a very basic premise. When I exercise, I’m always analyzing my problem. Instead of dwelling on what’s going wrong, I simply say to myself “What if I…” Then I try to come up with a number of ways to fix this problem (My average is usually 20).

The key to making this work is to sit down with a piece of paper and ask yourself “What if I…” Then write down every thought that pops up in your head. It’s important to not censure yourself during this exercise because even the wackiest idea could lead to your solution.

An Example of a Past Brainstorming Session

A few years back, a problem I was experiencing was not getting enough web traffic to my online business. So during a long twelve mile run along the Jersey Shore boardwalk, I kept asking myself “What if I…”

By the time I came home, I had a number of different ways to create web traffic. One of them was based on a very simple step-by-step process most people weren’t using:

  1. Record an audio of me reading each of my 200+ articles
  2. Add some slides and niche related picture to create a video
  3. Upload these videos, each targeting a very specific keyword phrase

I’ll admit that these videos are horrendous looking and the audio quality is pretty awful. But they’re responsible for bringing an average of 300 visitors to my website each and every day.

As you can see…this simple brainstorming process lead to one of my biggest breakthroughs in my online business.

Get Started Right Away

I challenge you to start using this simple exercise. Right now, get out a piece of a paper and write down a one-line sentence at the top which describes your problem. Then brainstorm a series of “what if I” solutions.

Once you have a list of solutions, start researching and putting them into action. Sure, most of these ideas will be complete failures. Just remember that some of the best stuff in life comes after making a bunch of mistakes.

Take Action. Get Results.


Patrick Toerner

That’s a good idea. I’m not much of a runner, but I’m sure it will work whilst on my butt. I like that video idea too. Seems pretty labor intense, but clearly beneficial. I’m going to start asking myself more “What if I’s”
.-= Patrick Toerner´s last blog ..Finding Ebook Ideas That Sell =-.

Steve Scott

Definitely try it. Like I said, most of the ideas won’t really be that great. But it’s important to write everything down in your head, then review this on a regular basis.


Really nice article. What If I concept was the best part of it. Keep up the good work!

Steve Scott

Thanks Nishant. Glad you found it useful.


It is just as good to take a nap for me. And I don’t have to shower after.
.-= Ralph´s last blog ..Saturday Bonus =-.


Brother I’m the same, when I’m pounding the hills I get some really great ideas. I love the what if technique, great job Re-Tweeting it now
.-= TheInfoPreneur´s last blog ..You Still Really Don’t Believe You Can Do It Do You? =-.

Steve Scott

Pounding hills? Is it really hilly where you live?

Thanks for the RT. To be honest, this is one of the techniques that’s really made a difference in my life. I feel that everyone out there has million dollar ideas all the time, but they don’t take the simple step of writing it down and actively pursuing them.
.-= Steve Scott´s last blog ..Steve’s Sunday Selections – March 28th, 2010 =-.

David Black

Great, great idea for the video strategy. So simple, yet so effective.

You’ve probably hear of it but you can use Tubemogul to submit them to many different video services all in one place.

Could you direct me to an example of one of your vids?

It’s amazing what inspiration exercise can manifest. I always have my iphone handy when on the crosstrainer, cos my mind goes into overdrive. I’m just waiting for a truly mobile, rapid mindmapping solution and i’ll be unstoppable 🙂
.-= David Black´s last blog ..How To Become A Bad Boy Women Will Love =-.

Steve Scott

I’ve heard of TubeMogul, but haven’t used it yet. Right now, I’m in a holding pattern with my videos, but will try it when I get back to it.

I sent you an email about the video question…for now, don’t get into exact details.

Definitely agree it would be cool to have some sort of “Cloud” where you capture a thought and store it somewhere for future reference.

Mick Morris

nice adaptation of brain storming….. and good examples of outcomes achieved by using it.
.-= Mick Morris´s last blog ..What if…… =-.

Steve Scott

Thanks Mick. It’s a little technique that’s always helped me with my life.

Yolanda Facio

I’m with you! I find my best ideas when I’m out running or I can focus on refining them. It slows me down a bit but in the end the run is more enjoyable and I get some great work done.
.-= Yolanda Facio´s last blog ..Marketing with Video: The Good and The Bad =-.

Steve Scott

It’s good to hear that someone else does the same kinda weird thing that I do 🙂

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