One of my LinkedIn connections, Dennis Geelen, put out a post on Monday asking when/where do you get your best ideas. For Dennis, ideas flow when he’s at rest or doing things like showering or driving. Other people followed the path, talking about ways they let go to let ideas flow.
I commented in a contrary voice. I’m lucky I guess, ideas come to me easily. In fact, sometimes when I’m stressed, my brain can go into overdrive. Oscillating on alternatives. In what Ralph Campbell, a business coach, labeled as a paradox of ideas, like the concept of a paradox of choice.
I answered anywhere and anytime. That it’s the execution of an idea that makes it best. That when I embrace constraints, select an idea, and put it into action it becomes a best idea.
My VIA strengths are honesty (authenticity), curiosity, creativity, love of learning and judgement (decisions).
To me, ideas come from the middle three. I suppose that’s why most people say it’s when they are rested or unstressed or playful that ideas flow. It’s the trigger that encourages their own curiosity and creativity. (And yes, we all can be creative even if it’s not our strength)
But it’s the sound judgement characteristic that I believe you need to apply to select a best idea. Or best 3 that you then explore and evaluate.
Now don’t get me wrong, when I’m stuck on a problem, I get up walk around and come back to look at things with fresh eyes. It’s how I did debugging when I was a developer an eon ago.
But for me that’s problem solving, not idea making. They are different things. Hmmm.
So why is this important to marketers? Because a lot of you are creative people. You are curious about other people. Curious about your customers. You embrace experimental learning. And you come up with great ideas.
What you might need is to exercise is a bit of judgement. Or learn to trust your judgement. Which, like most wisdom skills, comes with putting in the hours.
You might need to have the courage to try things out in the face of uncertainty. Then create space for honest evaluation. Come up with criteria to measure success. In terms of time and/or money sunk. Evaluate if you have a problem that needs persistence or an opportunity that needs an innovation. Or an idea that didn’t pass or is no longer useful.
Just a thought. Or an idea, lol.
What do you do when you need ideas to flow? As Dennis asked – when/where do you get your best ideas? And as I ask… how do you know they are best?
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