Surface Ideas and Collaboration.
Dig deeper than the surface: what do I mean by this? It's the dig deeper than the first idea/concept. Sure the first concept is the "go-to" concept that one thinks is so strong, but how many designers are willing to toss that concept (that they think is great/genius) and dig deeper for a stronger concept. Think of it like love at first sight — one instantly falls in-love with their very first concept (during this phase). So, they feel its the best answer for such a project or idea; they build upon it and come up with a design. Though this design has no real value because it was possibly built on top of a very poor foundation. This foundation being a poor concept. From my years in college and professional settings: I've come to learn that, sometimes it's best to be willing to part with the first idea, even the second and third. Sometimes you have to let them go when they're 75% finished with the initial idea/design.
The key to a strong idea is to talk about it. This sound crazy — who wants their idea to be possibly stolen or ripped off? No one does, but if you have a tight knit group of friends where you can essentially collaborate as an open forum, success is in the air. I know from one of my previous posts , I touched a little bit on this subject. This is very vital for a designer. This is where your friends become colleagues and they straight up tell you "That looks like shit," or "What were you thinking." If you do have a good idea and they agree upon it, the possibilities are endless. A simple print ad campaign can turn into a huge website/ user experience/ commercial ect. You just need to take the initiative to talk to other deep conceptual thinkers to help ground the idea. One can only push their work so far. Also, this is a great chance to get a fresh pair of eyes and ears to see what's working and what isn't working.
Think about metaphors. poems, pop culture, fashion ect inspire your concept. Theses can help you to move away from the cliche, and move towards those "I hate you" ideas. A design without a concept is a haphazard mess. Always be ready to start over. It's digital so it's very impermanent. Go out there and start putting an elite group of free conceptual thinkers. They don't have to be the same field as you are. I feel it's best to talk and collaborate with people from outside fields — they can shed a new light on the project. You'll be amazed by how far a project or idea can go.