Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

The lifespan of ideas ...

Posted by Tom Foremski - July 12, 2006

I've been thinking about how ideas are created and how they are used. There seems to be a life span to good business ideas in that most ideas eventually become obvious because at some point they will make sense to most people.

Within the startup community there is great fear of ideas being stolen. Many people hang onto their best ideas as if they were unique to them and won't share them easily. Maybe those ideas were unique at some point, they were the first to spot things/trends, the first to connect the dots, but they won't stay that way forever.

Others will find their way to the same ideas sooner or later because they are also working with a similar base of concepts and information. We are all exposed to the same things, although at different times, and that leads to the development of similar ideas.

It is wise to be protective of business ideas for a while so that you can try to monetise them first. But many people hang onto their ideas for far too long, and this can interrupt the process of new idea creation. At some point ideas need to be let loose so that at least you can get a date stamp on the idea, and more importantly, create more good ideas.

I've noticed that more good ideas I talk about, or give away, the more ideas will take their place. Because there is now space within the colloidal supercomputer, our brain, for new ideas to take root and flourish.

Linus Pauling, the two-times Nobel prize winner, said that the way to have great ideas is to have lots of ideas. By having lots of ideas you can pull out the great ideas.

I've noticed that the brain does a tremendous amount of work processing information in the background. Then it will throw its conclusions, ideas into our consciousness and we get that eureka moment coming from seemingly no where. And it's important to write things down otherwise the thoughts will be lost and forgotten.

That's why it is important to turn off the chatter, the many conversations around you. Listen to your own conversation. The reason we get great ideas in the shower is that this is often the only time we are not bombarded by outside chatter from the radio, TV, family, or colleagues. In the shower we have an opportunity to hear ourselves, and that's the source of all our ideas :-)

Story link | Subscribe free | Categories: New Rules, TomWatch




ForemskiInnovator.jpg

The Holmes Report names Tom Foremski one of the top 25 Innovators of 2013.




-->