There is power in an idea; and there are fame, name and untold wealth. More importantly, a powerful idea gives you an opportunity to touch the lives of millions and billions of people in the world. Facebook was once an idea that later became big, helping the world connect better. It started with questioning the way the university students connected with each other. Google emerged out of an idea to make search better.
World needs big ideas and actions; if you do not come up with these ideas then somebody else will. How can you be the person with the big idea? Let us explore.
Body and mind: An idea emerges in your mind. In a healthy body lives a healthy mind so keep both fit and ready for accepting ideas.
Challenges and solutions: Think about the challenges of the world. Think about an idea that can solve them. Obesity, hunger, information overload all are big challenges that needs to be addressed.
People want clean water, clear air, fresh fruits and vegetables free of chemicals. World want integrated areas where people can both live and work – and spend less time commuting and more time working and being with their loved ones. People want less clutter and more relevant information online.
You can ideate to find a solution to such problems. For example to provide more relevant results online – one can create a layer of search filters on top of regular search engine and help remove content pushed by SEO (search engine optimization).
If possible think beyond your area of work.
Inside and outside: Look within to get in touch with your inner core. Go mediate, find solace; get away – some of your best ideas will come to you when are doing nothing. Seth Godin was struck with the idea of Yoyodyne (which he later sold to Yahoo for USD 30 million) sitting alone after a really bad day at work. Archimedes’ eureka moment occurred while he was bathing in a tub.
Go find some leisure hours. Go to a jungle trail or sit at home and do nothing. Go watch a movie alone, or just look at the expanse of sky and think about its vastness. Just for a moment or some hours get away from your work, be alone in the lap of nature.
Use mind-maps to become an efficient thinker and planner.
Go outside to learn about the needs and happenings in the world. Talk to people, observe and find your big idea. Make friends from different spheres of life. Learn music, become a part-time carpenter or join a calligraphy class. Steve Jobs said (about Calligraphy learning) during a commencement address he gave at Stanford University in 2005.
“It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating….
If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them.”
The idea is not to learn calligraphy because it worked for Steve Jobs; but to learn something for the joy of learning. You never know when your learning will come handy in life and put you in position to bring forth a big idea.
Read and write: When you read you get an opportunity to get in the mind of the writer. Read a mix of books – classics, new and from the times in between. At the end of every year or quarter make a reading list and aim to finish. Further read different types of writing like books, journals, periodicals, online resources. Every fortnight, give yourself some wild surfing time on the web. Just check anything – arts, science, pop culture, and agribusiness. How many of you have heard of Maisonneuve?
Read about change makers and find what got them inspired.
Do not be blinded by social, not-for profit, and for profit ideas. Read about innovation in any place. If you are a scientist then explore how Avatar became such a big hit and the role of studio and director in it. May be it will give you an idea on taking your research to the masses efficiently.
Writing helps you be creative and help you get in flow. Write without restrain. Write for 25 minutes without stopping. Write about “my ideas to change the world” for a beginning.
Conservative and out-of-the-box: Spend time wisely balancing things like work and life; and business and pleasure- doing things the way the world wants of you. Then once in a while do things – which world do not expect you to. If you use diplomacy usually then you can try speaking your heart to people – straight from the heart – the way you think. Spend an entire day without a cell phone and an entire week without internet.
Question and answer: Just get into habit of asking –“Can it be done better?” Then try and find the answer how it actually can be done better. All big ideas and enterprises start with asking a question
Think about better way of delivery or find a new medium itself. Can there be interconnected network of waves that need no mobile phone-like device to enable a conversation between two people.
I am sure this will help you find a worthwhile idea. Do you have a powerful idea that you are already working on or are you still exploring?
Photo by Vale Zmeykov