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5 Ways to Profit from Good Ideas

5 Ways to Profit from Good Ideas
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    Turning a good idea into a successful innovation requires the glass to be full. A half full glass simply isn’t enough. There are many things involved in bringing a product to market successfully or turning an idea into reality and each one of them needs to be right, or at least close enough. The innovator starts the process with a set of resources and draws upon them until the idea, product or invention “sells”. This innovation process is like starting with a full glass that has holes in the bottom of it. The challenge is to find ways to plug the leaks before the glass drains completely and then make the glass overflow. Here are 5 ways to profit from good ideas.

    1. Assume your idea is terrible. Assuming an idea is terrible can be quite liberating. This is not the same as not believing in what you are doing and it is not about being negative. On the contrary, it is about changing the frame of reference to give due consideration to the real operating conditions. Consider the advantage of having accurate maps and a compass to navigate from one place to another rather than a ball of string and a vague idea. Having an accurate understanding of the conditions has its advantages. It prevents people and companies from squandering resources on dead ends or irrelevant excursions. Anyone moving forward who is positive, highly motivated and well equipped with accurate, relevant information and sound plans becomes virtually unstoppable. Eliminating the tendency to rely on untested assumptions can be done by simply assuming a product or idea is a terrible one and then taking steps toward making it better.
    2. Know your customer, industry and business well enough to publish a book. Writing is a process that distills thought. Corporate innovators are often asked to prepare detailed plans. Companies employ a variety of planning tools and they can be tremendous aids in working through the necessary thought processes. Everyone seeking funding who has approached professional finance people to get a project financed is aware that he or she is expected to come with a written business plan. The thought process that goes into the writing is more important than the document itself.
    3. Steal from others and let others steal from you. Copy, copy, copy. Originality is overrated. The advantages of duplication over originality are numerous. Something that has already become tried and true is just that: tried and true. That decreases the risk and uncertainty considerably. Duplicating something is less costly than producing an original. Something that has been in use has likely had a lot of the bugs knocked out of it and has already become perceived as useful and acceptable. For manufactured products, it is almost always less risky, faster, cheaper and easier to incorporate an existing part already in production than to design and make an original.
    4. Create a powerful network of outside advisors. The importance and value of having a powerful network of outside advisors cannot be overstated. Famous inventor Thomas Edison surrounded himself with the most powerful people in the world. He needed a great deal of help to develop his grand visions so he went to whatever lengths were needed to get that help. As an example of an Edison gathering, he had United States President Herbert Hoover, Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone at his 82nd birthday party in Fort Myers, Florida on February 11, 1929. Successful people are usually more than happy to share constructive insights and where appropriate will exercise candor if something seems off.
    5. Involve and embrace passionate customers in the development and marketing processes. For most types of innovations, there are ways to actively engage end embrace passionate leading customers in the development and marketing processes. This can happen at an early stage or long after a product or service has matured. Bringing customers in close can be a tremendous aid to the innovation process. Innovators would be remiss if they did not consider this approach.

    The above 5 ways are intended for those who are interested in achieving commercial success and maximizing profits from their ideas. There are many settings where making money is not a primary or relevant concern where these ways can still become quite useful. University researchers striving to gain a deeper understanding of our universe and natural laws are among those can benefit. Hobbyists and part-time practitioners can likewise apply them to their particular circumstances as they work toward meeting their project goals. It is not an all or nothing proposition. The key is to use them wherever they make sense to incrementally increase the success rates for turning ideas and inventions into successful innovations, however success is defined.

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    Last Updated on November 5, 2019

    How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive

    How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive

    Assuming the public school system didn’t crush your soul, learning is a great activity. It expands your viewpoint. It gives you new knowledge you can use to improve your life. It is important for your personal growth. Even if you discount the worldly benefits, the act of learning can be a source of enjoyment.

    “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” — Mark Twain

    But in a busy world, it can often be hard to fit in time to learn anything that isn’t essential. The only things learned are those that need to be. Everything beyond that is considered frivolous. Even those who do appreciate the practice of lifelong learning, can find it difficult to make the effort.

    Here are some tips for installing the habit of continuous learning:

    1. Always Have a Book

    It doesn’t matter if it takes you a year or a week to read a book. Always strive to have a book that you are reading through, and take it with you so you can read it when you have time.

    Just by shaving off a few minutes in-between activities in my day I can read about a book per week. That’s at least fifty each year.

    2. Keep a “To-Learn” List

    We all have to-do lists. These are the tasks we need to accomplish. Try to also have a “to-learn” list. On it you can write ideas for new areas of study.

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    Maybe you would like to take up a new language, learn a skill or read the collective works of Shakespeare. Whatever motivates you, write it down.

    3. Get More Intellectual Friends

    Start spending more time with people who think. Not just people who are smart, but people who actually invest much of their time in learning new skills. Their habits will rub off on you.

    Even better, they will probably share some of their knowledge with you.

    4. Guided Thinking

    Albert Einstein once said,

    “Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.”

    Simply studying the wisdom of others isn’t enough, you have to think through ideas yourself. Spend time journaling, meditating or contemplating over ideas you have learned.

    5. Put it Into Practice

    Skill based learning is useless if it isn’t applied. Reading a book on C++ isn’t the same thing as writing a program. Studying painting isn’t the same as picking up a brush.

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    If your knowledge can be applied, put it into practice.

    In this information age, we’re all exposed to a lot of information, it’s important to re-learn how to learn so as to put the knowledge into practice.

    6. Teach Others

    You learn what you teach. If you have an outlet of communicating ideas to others, you are more likely to solidify that learning.

    Start a blog, mentor someone or even discuss ideas with a friend.

    7. Clean Your Input

    Some forms of learning are easy to digest, but often lack substance.

    I make a point of regularly cleaning out my feed reader for blogs I subscribe to. Great blogs can be a powerful source of new ideas. But every few months, I realize I’m collecting posts from blogs that I am simply skimming.

    Every few months, purify your input to save time and focus on what counts.

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    8. Learn in Groups

    Lifelong learning doesn’t mean condemning yourself to a stack of dusty textbooks. Join organizations that teach skills.

    Workshops and group learning events can make educating yourself a fun, social experience.

    9. Unlearn Assumptions

    You can’t add water to a full cup. I always try to maintain a distance away from any idea. Too many convictions simply mean too few paths for new ideas.

    Actively seek out information that contradicts your worldview.

    Our minds can’t be trusted, but this is what we can do about it to be wiser.

    10. Find Jobs that Encourage Learning

    Pick a career that encourages continual learning. If you are in a job that doesn’t have much intellectual freedom, consider switching to one that does.

    Don’t spend forty hours of your week in a job that doesn’t challenge you.

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    11. Start a Project

    Set out to do something you don’t know how. Forced learning in this way can be fun and challenging.

    If you don’t know anything about computers, try building one. If you consider yourself a horrible artist, try a painting.

    12. Follow Your Intuition

    Lifelong learning is like wandering through the wilderness. You can’t be sure what to expect and there isn’t always an end goal in mind.

    Letting your intuition guide you can make self-education more enjoyable. Most of our lives have been broken down to completely logical decisions, that making choices on a whim has been stamped out.

    13. The Morning Fifteen

    Productive people always wake up early. Use the first fifteen minutes of your morning as a period for education.

    If you find yourself too groggy, you might want to wait a short time. Just don’t put it off later in the day where urgent activities will push it out of the way.

    14. Reap the Rewards

    Learn information you can use. Understanding the basics of programming allows me to handle projects that other people would require outside help. Meeting a situation that makes use of your educational efforts can be a source of pride.

    15. Make Learning a Priority

    Few external forces are going to persuade you to learn. The desire has to come from within. Once you decide you want to make lifelong learning a habit, it is up to you to make it a priority in your life.

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    Featured photo credit: Paul Schafer via unsplash.com

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