"There are no bad ideas" is always the first thing everyone will tell you when you're learning how to be creative. No matter how outlandish, or dangerous, or downright impractical - every idea has value in an idea-generation session.
That's because even a bad idea has something in it that made it pop up in your head.
So, instead of dismissing a bad idea, you throw yourself at it like you want to know everything you possibly can about it. What prompted the idea? What's the benefit? Who does it benefit? What do you like about this idea? What would make this idea work for you?
Once you've done that exploration of the "bad idea", then it's time to start coming up with new ideas based on the stuff you like about the "bad idea". That's how real innovation starts. You take a new concept or benefit, and you find a new way to make it happen.
But what happens if an idea is so bad that your internal censors automatically and unconsciously squash it before the idea even forms in your mind? What if the current modus operandi is so solidified in your head that something wildly different never even has a chance of occurring to you?
For example, I recently saw the shoe pictured above at a department store. Notice anything... um... unusual about it?
If I were a shoe designer, I would never in a million years have created a high-heeled shoes that didn't actually have a heel. It simply wouldn't have occurred to me.
Judging by the millions of other shoes I've seen, not many real shoe designers have ever imagined this either. It probably never crossed any of their minds - or if it did, it it was probably dismissed at light speed as something that would never work.
But it does work. People actually can walk in those shoes - real people, not just Lady Gaga and Posh Spice. They're even sold at normal everyday stores like Nordstroms, Urban Outfitters and even on Zappos.
The shoe market is a very crowded one and it's near impossible to really stand out. But heelless shoes make that splash - because they're something that no one even thought was possible until they saw it happen.
So think about it. What conventions are so ingrained in your mind that you take them as a given even when you're thinking creatively? ("Oh, high heeled shoes MUST have heels") What assumptions are you making? Where ideas have you squashed before they've even had a chance to become "bad ideas" in your head?
Think about it!