New Ideas

The one thing I cannot stop doing is coming up with New Ideas. Nowadays, I also try and note the trail of how a particular idea could built up. There are three elements which I have found are particularly useful in the ideation process:

  • Talking to people and listening carefully to the questions they ask
  • Writing or doing a presentation – helps in structuring it
  • Deep thinking for an extended period of time

Of these, the third is perhaps the hardest to do. There are so many things that need our attention – now! It is easy to lose oneself on answering emails, randomly surfing the web, or reading through Facebook status updates from dozens or even hundreds of friends. In other words, it is easy to get lost in the data streams that exist all around us. At times, it is very critical to step back and force a deep think – imagining what the future can be. That requires a few hours of uninterrupted thought — easier said than done.

One thing I have realised is that even not-so-good Ideas can be moulded over time with enough thought and interaction with others. One needs a base framework to begin with – and the courage to share half-baked thoughts with others! And then let things simmer fora while to make magic happen.

10 thoughts on “New Ideas

  1. I vividly remember from my days at Microsoft that Bill used to have this “think week” ever so often.

    He would take books/reading suggestions from everyone and go away for a week uninterrupted by emails/phones/meetings. It was his way to do a deep think and envision the future….

  2. Those 3 are spot on! And yes, with the frequency of interrupts (aside:haven’t we almost started expecting/looking for them these days?) the last is indeed the toughest!

    I’ve seen an idea emerge from multiple other ideas living inside one’s head, and discussed with multiple people, over time. Its a fascinating process πŸ™‚

    – Sameer

  3. No.3 and 1 work most for me and in that order. I love the process of solving a problem and then discussing it with smart people.

    Discussing only happened when I realized that the idea itself is not a defensible asset. It is what layers we build over simple idea that matter.

    And many of those layers come from cross pollination of ideas:
    1) They will come from people who have strong opposing views
    2) How other industries are able to solve a problem helps me to try solve problem in my industry
    3) How are my competitors thinking about the problem
    4) Totally different thought stream such as using biology to be able to solve problems in mathematics
    5) Discussions with lots of smart people whose single question can send you in a thought process for hours together.

    I agree with you that simmering to let an idea happen is very fulfilling but in my experience it is also frustrating to people around you.


  4. I completely agree with you on this statement…
    “One needs a base framework to begin with – and the courage to share half-baked thoughts with others! ”

    “sharing a half-baked idea never hurts it only bakes further your idea” it took me 2-years to understand this one line of entrepreneurship.


  5. Rajesh,

    I have a question for you.
    When it comes to sharing an idea with others, how do you protect yourself from the risk of someone stealing your idea …

  6. AM,

    If that idea is so easily cloned and executed, then its probably not worth it in the first place.

    You should have the belief that you can execute the idea and create sustainable competitive advantages over time that no one else can.


  7. @AM
    Tarun’s right. In fact, I’d go as far as to say let someone steal it πŸ™‚ Its the nuances that matter for the idea, and even more so, execution. One huge advantage of getting someone else in is, especially if its a new market idea, that all the market education/messaging burden about the concept is not yours alone! That becomes a real toughie in many cases, and if someone else is ready to put in $$ to help grow the market, helps you.
    Finally, there’s always enough space for >1 guy. If there isn’t, think of something else.
    – Sameer

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