Advertising
Advertising

The Bigger the Idea, the Bigger the Value?

The Bigger the Idea, the Bigger the Value?

In 1935, Boeing and Martin & Douglas — two aviation companies — brought planes to an airfield in Dayton, Ohio to compete for a contract from the U.S. Army. Boeing was showcasing a plane called the Model 299, which had a 103-foot wingspan, four engines (the norm at the time was two), five times the number of specified bombs, and could fly much farther than any other plane.

It was a very complex plane, but a tremendous one.

And what happened in Dayton? It crashed right into the ground, killing two of the men on board.[1]

The instant theory on what happened was complexity. Some newspapers called it “too much plane for one man to fly.” Martin & Douglas won the contract, and Boeing almost went bankrupt.

Advertising

Some in the Army, though, still thought the Model 299 could work. They got together and tried to fix the complexity issues. At first, they thought the main issue was experience of the pilots — but in the Dayton test, the pilot had been very experienced. That wasn’t it.

Over time, they came up with a very simple idea: a pre-flight checklist.[2]

    The pre-flight checklist was a success, the plane was renamed the B-17, and it had a huge impact on WW2. At the same time, the pilot’s checklist gave birth to the hospital checklist, which has improved safety in surgery by 30% and more.

    Advertising

    A simple idea, but with a huge impact.

    Very often, we seek great thoughts. We believe that the bigger the idea the bigger the value. But the pre-flight checklist is one of the many pieces of evidence to prove that this is not true.

    Start Small and Leverage

      If you want to make an impact, aim small and think about the leverage of an idea. Begin with one small idea, or an old idea. How can the old idea be reused, adjusted, or tweaked to “leverage” for higher values?

      Advertising

      “Leveraging” is an investment strategy involving the use of borrowed capital to increase the potential return on an investment. It works with ideas too, however. An old idea in a new situation can be transformative. Or a simple idea like a pre-flight checklist can change the course of a World War.

      You don’t always need to wait for the inspirational “big idea” to come. What if that never comes, and you’re left with no ideas at all?

      How to Find that Small Idea?

      The easiest way is to start with a problem.

      Because there are so many different types of problems you could solve, look for one within your capability or expertise area. By narrowing down the scope, you don’t get distracted by problems that you don’t have control over. Within that area, look for a problem that happens all the time. (Something frequent.)

      Advertising

      Now you need to stick to the problem you’ve found and look into it — start with the root cause, and then look for different layers of causes. Understand what the core of the issue is. This will help you think of more good approaches/solutions for it.

      Now review the causes you have identified and think of solutions. If there are available solutions, review whether they can really fix the causes you have identified. If the answer is no, it’s probably a hard problem to fix. But if the answer is yes, don’t worry so much about the root cause — try to review different layers of causes.

      If there are no available solutions, think of different solutions for different layers of causes. It feels counterintuitive to many, but oftentimes when you stop looking for the big idea, you open up creativity big-time.

      Small is Big

        A simple act, with a simple, old tool, had incredible leverage. Don’t look for a great idea. Look for a good problem. Start by observing the troubles you come across in your everyday life. Go for the small idea and get the big wins from there. You probably won’t win a World War, no, but you could be very successful.

        Reference

        More by this author

        Leon Ho

        Founder & CEO of Lifehack

        Ditch Work Life Balance and Embrace Work Life Harmony Habits and Motivation: Master Both for Big Results How to Prevent Inaction from Leading to Regret The Ultimate Night Routine Guide: Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive Stop Waiting For Your Dream Job and Go Ask For It

        Trending in Smartcut

        1 50 Great People To Follow On LinkedIn, No Matter Your Industry 2 How to Prevent Inaction from Leading to Regret 3 10 Most Successful Entrepreneurs and What We Can Learn from Them 4 What Does Success Look Like? Revealed by 12 Highly Successful People 5 The Ultimate Night Routine Guide: Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

        Read Next

        Advertising
        Advertising
        Advertising

        Last Updated on May 24, 2019

        How to Be Productive at Home and Make Every Day a Productive Day

        How to Be Productive at Home and Make Every Day a Productive Day

        If you’ve ever wondered how to be productive at home or how you could possibly have a more productive day, look no further.

        Below you’ll find six easy tips that will help you make the most out of your time:

        1. Create a Good Morning Routine

        One of the best ways to start your day is to get up early and eat a healthy breakfast.

        CEOs and other successful people have similar morning routines, which include exercising and quickly scanning their inboxes to find the most urgent tasks.[1]

        You can also try writing first thing in the morning to warm up your brain[2] (750 words will help with that). But no matter what you choose to do, remember to create good morning habits so that you can have a more productive day.

        If you aren’t sure how to make morning routine work for you, this guide will help you:

        The Ultimate Morning Routine to Make You Happy And Productive All Day

        Advertising

        2. Prioritize

        Sometimes we can’t have a productive day because we just don’t know where to start. When that’s the case, the most simple solution is to list everything you need to get accomplished, then prioritize these tasks based on importance and urgency.

        Week Plan is a simple web app that will help you prioritize your week using the Covey time management grid. Here’s an example of it:[3]

          If you get the most pressing and important items done first, you will be able to be more productive while keeping stress levels down.

          Lifehack’s CEO, Leon, also has great advice on how to prioritize. Take a look at this article to learn more about it:

          How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

          3. Focus on One Thing at a Time

          One of the biggest killers of productivity is distractions. Whether it be noise or thoughts or games, distractions are a barrier to any productive day. That’s why it’s important to know where and when you work best.

          Advertising

          Need a little background noise to keep you on track? Try working in a coffee shop.

          Can’t stand to hear even the ticking of a clock while writing? Go to a library and put in your headphones.

          Don’t be afraid to utilize technology to make the best of your time. Sites like [email protected] and Simply Noise can help keep you focused and productive all day long.

          And here’s some great apps to help you focus: 10 Online Apps for Better Focus

          4. Take Breaks

          Focusing, however, can drain a lot of energy and too much of it at once can quickly turn your productive day unproductive.

          To reduce mental fatigue while staying on task, try using the Pomodoro Technique. It requires working on a task for 25 minutes, then taking a short break before another 25 minute session.

          After four “pomodoro sessions,” be sure to take a longer break to rest and reflect.

          Advertising

          I like to work in 25 and 5 minute increments, but you should find out what works best for you.

          5. Manage Your Time Effectively

          A learning strategies consultant once told me that there is no such thing as free time, only unstructured time.

          How do you know when exactly you have free time?

          By using the RescueTime app, you can see when you have free time, when you are productive, and when you actually waste time.

          With this data, you can better plan out your day and keep yourself on track.

          Moreover, you can increase the quality of low-intensity time. For example, reading the news while exercising or listening to meeting notes while cooking. Many of the mundane tasks we routinely accomplish can be paired with other tasks that lead to an overall more productive day.

          A bonus tip, even your real free time can be used productively, find out how:

          Advertising

          20 Productive Ways to Use Your Free Time

          6. Celebrate and Reflect

          No matter how you execute a productive day, make sure to take time and celebrate what you’ve accomplished. It’s important to reward yourself so that you can continue doing great work. Plus, a reward system is an incredible motivator.

          Additionally, you should reflect on your day in order to find out what worked and what didn’t. Reflection not only increases future productivity, but also gives your brain time to decompress and de-stress.

          Try these 10 questions for daily self reflection.

          More Articles About Daily Productivity

          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

          Reference

          Read Next