Innovate This!

The Ridiculous Ideas Method: Now That’s A Ridiculous Idea

by | May 2, 2023 | 0 comments

Pensive ethnic man listening to answer in paper cup phone

The day before something is a breakthrough, it’s a crazy idea.” – Peter Diamandis

Back in 2022 I heard about a woman named Stephanie Matto who earned over $200,000 in a few weeks selling – and I SWEAR I am not making this up – Farts in a Jar.

How many of us would have ever even thought of selling something like that, let alone gone about pursuing it? But, she did. And, earned LOTS of money in a very short amount of time by pursuing what most people would have deemed to be a completely ridiculous idea!

One of the Creative Thinking Training FUNshops we lead is centered around the method, Come Up With 10 Bad or Ridiculous Ideas. The challenge for those participating is to first see if they can one-up each other with how BAD the ideas are that they propose.

Then, we re-consider each and ask, ‘In what ways could this be modified to make it a good idea?’

Ponder this: WHY does a professional photographer get such stunning shots?

Yes, certainly they have quality equipment. They also have training and a degree of talent. But, one factor in them getting such great pictures is they take LOTS of pictures! If you examined all the photos they took, there would be many of poor quality, too.

Creating ideas is no different. As Linus Pauling said, “The way to get good ideas is to get lots of ideas and throw the bad ones away.” The beautiful secret is, even when you are aiming to create bad ideas, there will almost always be a gem in there somewhere. It just might need a little polishing.

With that in mind, here is a list of 10 bad ideas I came up with. Contemplate each and see if there is a diamond in there that stands out to you.

10 Ridiculous Ideas

  1. Take pictures of mailboxes – or any other ordinary item – from unusual vantage points, and sell prints of these in an Etsy or eBay store.
  2. Create collages from snow globes and sell these as unique creations.
  3. Collect old mobile phones and sell them as Historical Artifacts.
  4. Share a post on LinkedIn that is a series of numbers that are a coded message. Offer a prize to the first person who cracks the code and deciphers your message.
  5. Offer a ‘listening service’ that people can call to divulge their problems or secrets. No advice or solutions are offered. Just someone to listen. $2.99/minute.
  6. Collect Dove Chocolate wrappers and mount the positive messages in a shadow box. Sell these at Flea Markets or an Etsy store.
  7. Start a subscription service where you check the air pressure in tires and alter the pressure if necessary.
  8. Listen to podcasts and record a Too Long Didn’t Listen summary for each one.
  9. For the person who has mastered sarcasm: A service that writes clever Twitter replies.
  10. A service that calls people’s Mother for them.

Now, it is your turn.

Alone or, preferably, with your team, give the Come Up With 10 Bad or Ridiculous Ideas method a try.

It is extremely productive, and here’s why. When trying to come up with good ideas, some people freeze up because they feel pressured. With this method, there is zero pressure. I mean, you are supposed to come up with bad ideas. So, if someone laughs at an idea, no feelings are hurt. A laugh is actually a compliment!

Amplify Your Results With The Ridiculous Ideas Method

In our training FUNshops, we select at least three teams. We have two teams competing against each other to see what bad ideas they can come up with. The folks on the third team are the judges and, after the first two teams present their bad idea, they decide which of the two teams has come up with the worst idea.

If you do this, rotate who is competing against whom to be sure everyone has the opportunity to come up with bad ideas and to judge the ideas.

The other thing I would suggest is, make it wide open at first. Choose a general topic like, say, ‘come up with a bad movie idea’. Playing a round or two like this will get folks creative juices flowing.

Then, after people are relaxed and laughing, you can move on to business. Have them come up with bad ideas about aspects of your organization’s operation. For example, ‘what is the worst customer service idea you can come up with?’

Of course, then you’ll want to go back through each bad idea and see if it might be tweaked and polished to make it a good idea. Ask for everyone’s input. Because their creative juices are flowing, and they are relaxed, you will almost always glean a pearl or two from doing this.

Never underestimate the value of play. This may well be the most fun and productive team exercise you have ever experienced!

Love playing games to stimulate your creativity and come up with new ideas? Read about the MAGNIFY method.


  • Bob Sager

    The Founder of SpearPoint Solutions, Bob’s professional background includes over three decades of experience in sales, leadership and training. Combined with creative thinking, he uses that experience...