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The Secret Place Where All Great Ideas Are Born

The Secret Place Where All Great Ideas Are Born

Where do great ideas come from? The cliched view is that they come fully formed in a flash of inspiration. You’ve probably seen this in films or on TV, a character might be working over night trying to come up with a big idea, and suddenly their idea hits them.

However, the reality is actually far more complicated. The truly great ideas, are the product of processes. They are the product of what a person sees and gets in touch with every day that combine to influence a thought. A random thought turns into an idea, then the idea is worked on.

Consider twitter, twitter was originally not conceived as as a social network, but instead as an alternative to SMS messaging. The original 140 wasn’t a creative gimmick, but was instead reflected the technological limitations of the mobile phone format (at the time).[1]

Uber came from a conversation between friends where they were complaining about how hard it was to find a decent taxi.[2]

The idea for Airbnb came when the founders were struggling to pay rent, and needed a way to earn some extra money. Most of the hotel rooms in the city were booked up thanks to a local conference, so they thought that they could exploit this by providing extra space in their apartment for overnight guests.[3]

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All of these ideas came to revolutionize their respective fields, and none of them came fully formed at the very beginning. Our view of how great ideas are born is thus inaccurate and is even potentially harmful.

We murder good ideas that are incubating

Usually when we hear about these ideas, it is when they are at their most successful. We don’t see the weeks, months, and years where the initial idea was developed, or the successes and early failures of the business. As a result we naturally assume the ideas were fantastic and fully formed from the start.

We assume that is where good ideas come from.A study has shown that the human brain favors any action or option which uses the least amount of energy.[4] So where it might be more useful to come up with ten different ideas for us to work on, we struggle to come up with one to save up energy. So we try very hard to come up with a fantastic idea.

But even if we do come up with an idea, we have no idea whether it is good or not because it doesn’t have concrete details on how it’s going to work. Without the details and a plan to take action on the idea, we judge its failure early before it can incubate into something great. Unless an idea is executed, our brains are unable to determine whether an idea is going to be great or not.

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    Think about the companies mentioned at the beginning of this article. The idea for each one of them came from the creators trying fulfill a need, they found themselves faced with a particular problem (like failing to find a good taxi as in the case with Uber), and as a result they came up with a random idea directly related to it, that random idea became the solution to it.

    But if we think we will come up with the next big idea without placing ourselves in the right context, and don’t allow for ideas to come to us naturally, then it is guaranteed that they won’t come to us at all. Instead we get stuck.

      The truth is, good ideas are random

      One day you might come up with ten ideas, of those ten, one might be an okay idea. We might often instinctively reject an idea that we judge to merely be “okay”. However, an okay idea can become a fantastic idea with work, and ideas that are truly great from the start are so rare that they might as well not exist.

      It’s like with novel writing. A truly brilliant book tends to be the product of months if not years of hard work, of endless re-writes. But as we read the novel at the time it is finished, we assume it was great from the start.

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      There is a famous story about Jack Kerouac, an American novelist, who wrote his famous novel On the Road over a three week period, almost without stopping for a break. For this to have been possible, surely the idea must have been brilliant from the start right? Well, this famous story isn’t true.

      Sure, he once typed up a draft of it in three weeks. But from him coming up with the idea, to finishing the book took over seven years. The ideas for the story came to him naturally while he was travelling, or at times he wrote about things that actually happened to him. There was never a point where he suddenly had this brilliant idea that he was able to quickly turn into a masterpiece of literature.

      All that is needed is the right stimulation

      Great ideas then come from what we see, what we hear, the people we speak to, and most importantly, a great idea can come as the solution to a problem, (like what we saw with Twitter, Uber, and Airbnb). This can be tricky, it can often be easy to be disheartened when faced with a problem.

        But that’s what innovation is, true innovation comes from either resolving a problem or finding a gap in the market which can be filled by a great idea. So next time you are faced with a problem, see this as an opportunity. Even if a solution exists, you might be able to think of a better one.

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        Read more about how you can come up with a great idea by finding a problem and solve it: Albert Einstein’s Problem-Solving Formula that Still Works Like a Charm

        Your next great idea might not seem great at first. It might just seem like an okay idea, a mediocre one, or even a bad one, all ideas need work. So don’t judge any at first, let ideas come naturally and write them down. It doesn’t matter how bad they seem, just write them down.

        Don’t worry about organizing them either, in fact it’s good not to. You might miss a good idea while you’re working on the organization. Organizing at this stage will just mean that you’re giving yourself an extra job to do which may slow you down or even make you lose motivation.

        If you want tips with this stage, check out this article: How Simply Jotting Down Ideas Can Make You Smarter

        Remember, great ideas don’t come fully formed, so don’t try to force them.

        Reference

        [1] Lifewire: The Real History of Twitter, In Brief
        [2] Gulf Elite: Startup From The Bottom: Here Is How Uber Started Out
        [3] Get Paid for Your Pad: The Airbnb Founder Story: From Selling Cereals To A $25B Company
        [4] The Globe and Mail: Humans are hard-wired for laziness, study finds

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        Last Updated on November 24, 2020

        50 LinkedIn Influencers To Follow, No Matter Your Industry

        50 LinkedIn Influencers To Follow, No Matter Your Industry

        LinkedIn is an excellent platform to network with great people to help you in your career and businesses. However, with over 575 million people on the site, who should you follow? This list will steer you to the right people to follow, organized by categories of expertise.

        Job Search Experts

        You will likely have several jobs throughout the course of your career, and you will constantly need advice on new trends and strategies out there in the job market. Here are the LinkedIn experts who you should follow on these matters.

        1. Liz Ryan is the CEO and founder of Human Workplace. Her articles on job searching are filled with creative and colorful cartoons.

        2. Lou Adler is the author of The Essential Guide for Hiring and Getting Hired.

        3. Dr. Marla Gottschalk will help you make an impact in a new job.

        4. Hannah Morgan runs CareerSherpa.net, where she gives expert advice on job searching and how to be more visible online.

        5. Alison Doyle is the CEO and Founder of CareerToolBelt.com.

        Management Experts

        They say that people leave managers, not jobs. These experts in LinkedIn will help you become your employees’ dream manager.

        6. Jeff Weiner. How can we leave out the CEO of LinkedIn himself?

        7. Nozomi Morgan is an executive coach. She can help you transition from a boss to a true leader.

        8. Mickey Mikitani is the CEO of Rakuten. He constantly shares his expertise in managing a global player in e-commerce platforms.

        9. Andreas von der Heydt was the head of Amazon’s Kindle Content and now the Director of Talent Acquisition. He has extensive experience in management, branding, and marketing.

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        Productivity Experts

        By maximizing your productivity, you can win in all aspects of life. The following LinkedIn experts will help you win big in your career.

        10. Gretchen Rubin is a happiness coach and the bestselling author of the The Happiness Project.

        11. Carson Tate is the founder of Working Simply. She advises us to include play in our schedules.

        12. Greg Mckeown is an essentialist. Part of being an essentialist is saying no to many things so that we can focus on the things that matter.

        13. Brian de Haaff, CEO of Aha! Labs Inc. provides strategies on how to be productive and happy at work at the same time.

        Marketing Experts

        14. Sujan Patel is VP of Marketing at When I Work, an employee scheduling software. He is an expert in content marketing and he even shares his ideas on content marketing in 2020.

        15. Megan Berry is the Head of Product Development at Rebelmouse, a content marketing and AlwaysOn powerhouse.

        16. Sean Gardner will help you navigate the social media landscape. This includes how to use different platforms to help accelerate your career. He is also the bestselling author of The Road to Social Media Success.

        17. Christel Quek is an digital and marketing expert. She is the VP of South East Asia at Brandwatch. Their products help businesses utilize social media data to make better business decisions.

        18. Jeff Bullas is a digital marketing expert. His blog has over 4 million readers annually.

        19. Michael Stelzer is the CEO and Founder of social media powerhouse site, Social Media Examiner.

        20. If you’re looking for inbound and content marketing expertise, follow Dharmesh Shah, Founder and CTO of Hubspot.

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        21. David Edelman is a McKinsey partner and is at the helm of the Digital Marketing Strategy Practice Department.

        22. Dave Kerpen leads the social media software company Likeable Local. He is the author of Likeable Social Media: How to delight your customers.

        23. Clara Shih is the CEO of Hearsay Social and the author of The Facebook Era.

        24. Aaron Lee is Grand Master of Customer Delight at Post Planner. He is an excellent resource for everything social media.

        25. David Sable is the CEO of Y&R, one of the largest advertising firms in the world.

        26. Content marketing trumps traditional marketing these days, and who else better to lead you in this area than Joe Pulizzi, Founder of Content Marketing Institute.

        Personal Branding Experts

        Part of what we market in our personal career is our brand. When people hear your name, what kind of brand comes into their mind? What traits and qualities do they associate with you?

        Here are some personal branding experts from LinkedIn to improve your own brand.

        27. Dorie Clark is the author of Stand Out and Reinventing You. He can help you craft the professional image you’ve always wanted.

        28. Dan Schawbel is the managing partner of Millennial Branding. If you’re a millennial, Dan is the guy to help you craft your personal brand.

        Other Notable Experts to Follow

        29. Lisa Gates is the expert to follow if you’re negotiating for higher salaries and promotions.

        30. If you’re a Baby Boomer, Marc Miller will help you navigate the continually changing landscape of the workplace.

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        31. To avoid getting your resumé moved to the “No” pile, read Paul Freiberger’s excellent advice.

        32. James Caan provides insightful ideas on careers in general. He is also a serial entrepreneur.

        33. Jeff Haden writes on various topics, such as leadership and management. He is the owner of Blackbird Media.

        34. If you’re looking for expert business advice on getting new customers and keeping them, follow Jay Baer.

        35. Suzanne Lucas, aka Evil HR Lady, is a great human resources specialist.

        36. If you need help in using Twitter to boost your career, Claire Diaz-Ortiz can guide you in the right direction.

        37. Ryan Holmes is the CEO of Hootsuite, a social media management tool.

        38. Customers are the lifeblood of a business and Colin Shaw focuses on revolutionizing this customer experience.

        39. Brian Solis often reflects on the future of business and how technology can disrupt our world.

        40. Nancy Lublin provides advice on more lighthearted topics, which are perfect after a long day’s work. She is the CEO behind Dosomething.org, a portal designed for social change; and the founder & CEO of Loris.ai and Crisis Text Line.

        41. Katya Andresen provides advice on how to manage your career. She was the CEO of Cricket Media and now responsible for the SVP Card Customer Experience at Capital One.

        42. Gallup has created a system to test what your strengths are and how to use them at work. Jim Clifton is the CEO of Gallup.

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        43. Adam Grant is a Wharton Professor and the author of Give and Take, which provides advice on why being helpful at work can accelerate your career.

        44. Hunter Walk is a partner at Homebrew Venture Capitalist Company and has specialty in product development and management.

        45. If you’re running a nonprofit organization, follow Beth Kanter for expert advice on this area.

        46. Emotional Intelligence is necessary to succeed in your career, and Daniel Goleman is your expert for that.

        47. Rita J. King connects science, technology and business.

        48. Tori Worthington Rose is a Creative Director at Mary Beth West Communications, LLC. She has extensive experience in sales and digital media.

        49. If you’re looking for some advice on how to use writing and personal content marketing to boost your career, follow Ann Handley.

        50. Tim Brown is the CEO at IDEO and shares his insights on Leadership and Creativity.

        These are just some of the key thought leaders and movers in various industries. They will provide you with constant inspiration, as well as the willpower to pursue the career that you’ve always wanted. Their stream of expert ideas in their respective fields will help you become well-equipped in your professional pursuits.

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        Featured photo credit: LinkedIn Sales Navigator via unsplash.com

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