Your mind is always working – thinking about problems and brainstorming ideas. If you’re an entrepreneur, it’s exciting when the creative juices are flowing. You feel energized and excited about the possibilities. However, other times you may feel stuck because you can’t figure something out or come up with an innovative solution to a problem you’re having.
Good ideas are valuable in business, especially when they’re followed by the corresponding action. Ideas are how your business grows and adapts. They’re the seeds that become new content, programs, and strategies. There are numerous ways to generate ideas, but great ideas come down to a few important factors: time and community.
How Do Good Ideas Develop?
You may think that innovative ideas appear suddenly, like a lightbulb turning on. When someone has a great idea, we sometimes even call it “a lightbulb moment.” However, research has shown that great ideas don’t typically form in an instant.
Usually, a great idea will start out small and develop over a long period of time, even when it’s not at the forefront of your thoughts.
This short, animated video can shed some light on where great ideas come from.
(For more information about Steven Johnson’s research on the origin of great ideas that propel us forward, check out his book here on Amazon: Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation)
Ideas Need Incubation Time
What I love about this video is the reassurance that it’s OK to take a while to implement your idea. Furthermore, good ideas require time, space, and interaction to bubble to the surface and become expressed.
The author, Steven Johnson, describes the formation of an idea as a “slow hunch”. It can take years for that idea to mature into something useful and accessible to you. So don’t feel guilty if you haven’t pursued the exciting idea you had last year. That idea is still incubating in your brain and may need more time.
Johnson also says that the best ideas form when they collide with other “hunches”. In other words, ideas also need to connect with other ideas before they are fully developed. Many times, a “hunch” from one person connects with a “hunch” from someone else to produce a brilliant idea. That’s why community is so important in any endeavor!
Ideas Need Connections
In the video, Johnson points out that the primary driver of innovation and advancements has been increased connectivity with others. This makes sense. When your hunch can connect with my hunch, it produces an idea that’s greater than the sum of its parts. Or, as Johnson puts it, “Chance favors the connected mind.”
There is great benefit in sharing thoughts and ideas. It’s one of the reasons why I do live coaching webinars and have very active Facebook groups for my courses. Often, a student may get a breakthrough about their own business while we’re discussing another student’s ideas or challenges. It was the missing piece they needed.
Do You Have a Community for Your Ideas?
Community is an integral part of how I help my students. I have two communities for my WordPress programs, one for the Website Creation Workshop and one for the Website Marketing Workshop.
My business is focused on coaching students and encouraging them to learn from each other. Sometimes a student will offer a helpful piece of information or advice that’s exactly what another student needs. Other times, a student will ask a question that someone else encounters down the road. The second student will know how to handle it because they’ve heard it answered before.
The Website Creation Workshop has a Facebook group and weekly coaching webinars where students can connect and learn from each other while they’re building their WordPress website. Check out the “Next Workshop” link in the top menu.
The Website Marketing Workshop, my intermediate WordPress course, helps you further improve and market your WordPress site. In addition to the content in the classroom, students can connect and learn from each other in the Facebook group and on the live coaching webinars.
Keep Those Ideas Cooking
Your ideas need time and connections to develop into something great. Steven Johnson’s research shows that great ideas need time to mature and access to other ideas. Through increased connectivity with others, whether it’s in-person or on the internet, innovative ideas can flourish. Having a community of like-minded individuals can help generate new ideas, offer helpful advice, and provide support.
So what good ideas are stewing on your back burner? If you’ve been pondering an idea, but it hasn’t come to fruition, don’t be discouraged or give up! That’s part of the creative process.
Do you have a community? Be intentional about connecting with others who are traveling a similar journey. If you’d like a WordPress community to help you with your website, but you’re not sure which community is for you, check out our FAQ page.
(this article first appeared in February 2012)
Great video with a lot to think about.
I always find that my great ideas or new direction on a project always come to me when I’m not thinking about them. They idea hits me when I least expect it. I’ve now started carrying a small notebook in my purse so that when the idea comes to me I can quickly jot it down. I must of tons of little notes around the house because I never know when the idea or plan will come to me.
Ideas come from strange places. When I worked in technology in LA, we had a ping pong table for the employees. Because the management understood that ideas flow, when you are doing other things (besides working)!
Just BRILLIANT! What a wonderful way to put into perspective “In the right time space and sequence!” Also puts into perspective mind mapping. I have tons of ideas peculating and waiting for the “other half” Maybe I should just draw it out!
Thanks for sharing!
I’m a big fan of pen and paper for getting ideas to flow. Sometimes it’s best to get AWAY from a computer
I’m so glad that Denise Wakeman introduced me to you and look forward to participating in your Website Creation Workshop, though right now I’m still incubating …
I love this video … posted it to my Facebook and Twitter so I could share you, what you do, and Steven Johnson’s “Where Do Good Ideas Come From” YouTube video with my connections.
Have a delight-filled day!
May the Muses Bless You With Grand Adventures ~ Cat Wagman
I’m so glad!
I just bought his book too!
I loved the illustration and it made so much sense.
I love the free flowing way he created the illustrations! It kinda is like how our minds works, they flow from one thing to the next
This is a great video! Thank you for sharing with us. Puts it into perspective for me. I’ve gotta get the book too.
I ordered the book after I saw that video. Loved his thinking on how we all affect each other
OMG! This is a fun-tastic video. Thank you so much for sharing it. I, like a lot of other Entrepreneurs, have ideas firing off all day long.I keep pencils and paper handy all the time. I had been kicking myself because I have an idea that came to me years ago and its taking time to launch it. There seem to be a few pieces missing from the vision. I’m glad I respected the vision and didn’t jump into it before it was time. I’ll have to add this book to my collection this week.
I love the way he reinforced what he was saying by drawing as he spoke. As an Artist, I’m very visual and it was wonderful to watch and listen.
What I really like about the drawing in the video, is that it shows how your mind works, making connections and going off on tangents.
Yes, me too with the ideas that take years to come together in a solid form
This dovetails with another book I’m reading, Christina – David Epstein’s “Range: Why Generalists Triumph In A Specialized World”. He speaks to collaborative problem-solving in terms of employing analogies – reaching into seemingly unrelated territory (the more unrelated, the better) for sparks of inspiration to solve your own dilemma. That often requires connecting with other folks with different perspectives. He cites numerous research endeavors to support this idea. A good read, too!