Day 27: Where do good ideas come from? What I learnt from watching Steven Johnson’s Ted talk.

Do you have a lot of good ideas? Not just good or average but great? If not, perhaps your environment is at fault.   On day 25 I wrote about a Ted talk by Elizabeth Gilbert from  Eat, Pray. Love fame who liked to think that creativity and ideas came from external beings and was not an internal process as such. On day 26 I published a post by  Ken Robison who passionately believed that we are all born bursting with creativity and it is educated out of us. Today on day 27 I look at creativity and ideas being something that develop and truly flourish in the company of others.


Day 27. Ideas need friends

What happens when we have an idea?

We all have them, ideas that is. Some are better than others. Some ideas are questionable . Some are strokes of genius that we look at in awe, but what exactly happens when we have an idea?  Johnson says  “An idea — a new idea — is a new network of neurons firing in sync with each other inside your brain. It’s a new configuration that has never formed before ” and he goes on to suggest that   ideas need this exact same structure on the outside world, outside our brains, to thrive.

Ideas are not formed from solo thinking

An idea is rarely ever formed on its own, solely devoid of outside inspiration. Often we get a seed of an idea and it might sit in our minds for months, years even, just waiting for that one bit on information or insight to bring it to life. Someone we meet might just say that one thing offhandedly  that actually has nothing directly to do with our specific ideas, but it might just instigate new avenues and inspiration for that lonely seed of an idea that we had years before.

Collective minds bring ideas to life

What if there was a way to fast track growth of these seeds of ideas. What if companies set aside time for innovative brainstorming once a week  to let their employers take their ideas out of incubation and help them collectively bring their ideas to light. How different would that company look in 3 years time?

I recently joined a mastermind group which has been a  great platform for me to develop my ideas, give them oxygen and help me to fill-in-the-blanks to what I need to do to to bring ideas to reality.  A mastermind group is simply a group of people wanting to share ideas, hold each other accountability and basically brainstorm collectively on each other’s ideas to help push them forward.  Without a doubt, the benefit of collectively discussing my ideas with other people have taken my projects to new levels as I am able to see different approaches which I haven’t considered in my solo thinking.  Sometimes the ideas that are brainstormed to me are things which I should have picked up on, but when we become too close to our own ideas we can sometimes fail to see the obvious.

Today’s main take away

I have started to really understand the importance of building networks in your niche to help grow your ideas and plan to  take an active approach to meet new like (and different) minded people. I am specifically wanting to embrace and connect with the blogging community, so if you are a blogger please let me know your blog url and twitter handle in the comments below. I can be found over at @websiteconfetti