Sometimes I hold onto ideas as mine alone, almost as if I might have held onto my first baby blanket – tightly – for fear I might lose it. When I came to meetings early in my career, I came into meetings more wanting to show the idea, than share the idea.
But at some point, we each realize that when we hold ideas like this, they can’t become big ideas. They remain alone and isolated and separated so that they can’t be built upon, refined, or shaped into big ideas.
The truth of ideas is this: Ideas need to be released into the wild, where they can mate. Ideas are not a product of our imagination alone, but also a product of our environments.
A truth, captured in some quotes:
“Innovators … actively search for new ideas by talking to people who may radically differ on things”
- Clayton Christensen in his new book, The Innovator’s DNA.
“What typically precipitates a breakthrough idea is a shift in thinking, prompted by tension between competing ideas.”
- (quoting myself from pg. 84), The New How.
”Every data point involving creativity and innovation — patents, R&D budgets, ‘supercreative’ professions, inventors — says that density of ideas matter.”
- Steve Johnson, Where good ideas come from.
Which only reminds us: ideas want to be connected and combined across conceptual borders, so they can disrupt the status quo. Ideas beg to change “what is” and create “what will be”. But they need to be near other good ideas to make that happen. This all speaks to the density of your idea next to others’ ideas. You know that I believe: what surrounds you, affects you. This goes for people for sure, but it especially applies to ideas.
So this post is a little reminder to take a look at that thing you are working on…
How are you releasing your ideas into the wild, and putting those ideas into situations where they can mate? <do share>
And what stops you from doing it? < let’s start a conversation >
- The Innovator’s DNA – An Excerpt (800ceoread.com)