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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 September 10, 2019

    How to Master the Art of Prioritization

    How to Master the Art of Prioritization

    Do you know that prioritization is an art? It is an art that will lead you to success in whatever area that matters to you.

    By prioritization, I’m not talking so much about assigning tasks, but deciding which will take chronological priority in your day—figuring out which tasks you’ll do first, and which you’ll leave to last.

    Effective Prioritization

    There are two approaches to “prioritizing” the tasks in your to-do list that I see fairly often:

    Approach #1 Tackling the Biggest Tasks First and Getting Them out of the Way

    The idea is that by tackling them first, you deal with the pressure and anxiety that builds up and prevents you from getting anything done—whether we’re talking about big or small tasks. Leo Babauta is a proponent of this Big Rocks method.[1]

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    Approach #2 Tackling the Tasks You Can Get Done Quickly and Easily, with Minimal Effort

    Proponents of this method believe that by tackling the small fries first, you’ll have less noise distracting you from the periphery of your consciousness.

    If you believe in getting your email read and responded to, making phone calls and getting Google Reader zeroed before you dive into the high-yield work, you’re a proponent of this method. I suppose you could say Getting Things Done (GTD) encourages this sort of method, since the methodology advises followers to tackle tasks that can be completed within two minutes, right there and then.

    Figure out Your Approach for Prioritization

    My own approach is perhaps a mixture of the two.

    I’ll write out my daily task list and draw little priority stars next to the three items I need to get done that day. They don’t need to be big tasks, but nine times out of ten, they are.

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    Smaller tasks are rarely important enough to warrant a star in the first place; I can always get away without even checking my inbox until the next day if I’m swamped, and the people who need to get in touch with me super quickly know how.

    But I’m not recommending my system of prioritization to you. I’m also not saying that mine is better than Leo’s Big Rocks method, and I’m not saying it’s better than the “if it can be done quickly, do it first” method either.

    The thing with prioritization is that knowing when to do what relies very much on you and the way you work. Some people need to get some small work done to find a sense of accomplishment and clarity that allows them to focus on and tackle bigger items. Others need to deal with the big tasks or they’ll get caught up in the busywork of the day and never move on, especially when that Google Reader count just refuses to get zeroed (personally, I recommend the Mark All As Read button—I use it most days!).

    I’m in between, because my own patterns can be all over the place. Some days I will be ready to rip into massive projects at 7AM. Other times I’ll feel the need to zero every inbox I have and clean up the papers on my desk before I can focus on anything serious. I also know that my peak, efficient working time doesn’t come at 11AM or 3PM or some specific time like it does for many people, but I have several peaks divided by a few troughs. I can feel what’s coming on when and try to keep my schedule liquid enough that I can adapt.

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    That’s why I use a starred task list system rather than a scheduled task list. It allows me to trust myself (something that I suppose takes a certain amount of discipline) and achieve peak efficiency by blowing with the winds. If I fight the peaks and troughs, I’ll get less done; but if I do certain kinds of work in each period of the day as they come, I’ll get more done than most others in a similar line of work.

    You may not be able to trust yourself to that extent without falling into the busywork trap. You may not be able to tackle big tasks first thing in the morning without feeling like you’re pushing against an invisible brick wall that won’t budge. You might not be able to deal with small tasks before the big tasks without feeling pangs of guilt and urgency.

    My point is:

    The prioritization systems themselves don’t matter. They’re all pretty good for a group of people, not least of all to the people who espouse them because they use them and find them effective.

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    What matters is that you don’t fall for one set of dogma (and I’m not saying Leo Babauta or David Allen preach these things as dogma, but sometimes their proponents do) until you’ve tried the systems extensively, and found which method of chronological prioritization works for you.

    And if the system you already use works great, then there’s no need to bother trying others—in the world of personal productivity, it’s too easy to mess with something that works and find yourself unable to get back into your former groove.

    “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

    In truth, this principle applies to all sorts of personal productivity issues, though it’s important to know which issues it applies to.

    If you thought multitasking worked well for you each day and I’d have to contend that you are wrong—multitasking is a universal myth in my books! But if you find yourself prioritizing tasks that never get done, you might need to reconsider which of the above approaches you’re using and change to a system that is more personally effective.

    More About Prioritization & Time Management

    Featured photo credit: Sabri Tuzcu via unsplash.com

    Reference

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