"Ideas can be life-changing. Sometimes all you need to open the door is just one more good idea."
--- Jim Rohn
Ideas in business come to us through many channels. We might read about it in a magazine or book, or we might get inspired from watching a movie. There are people who come up with ideas in the shower and others in their sleep. Art Fry, the guy who invented Post-It Notes is said to have come up with the idea while singing in his church choir.
They come from all directions, these ideas. Some are good and worth pursuing and others are all-out wishes that may still lead to worthwhile pursuits. For some people though, ideas are not so easy to come by. They struggle with letting their minds open to new ideas and therefore have a tough time creatively seeking them.
"First comes thought; then organization of that thought, into ideas and plans; then transformation of those plans into reality. The beginning, as you will observe, is in your imagination."
--- Napoleon Hill
Entrepreneur and marketing guru Seth Godin says that "Ideas occur when dissimilar universes collide, and that they can even come from bad ideas, provided there are enough of them." Getting those universes to collide takes some maneuvering and a little patience.
The first step is to allow the mind to dump all ideas onto a piece of paper. This exercise really works and gets the mind working overtime to produce ideas. Not all of them will be something you could or would implement, but do not dare stifle them. If you find you are struggling, go paint, read a book, play a game or something similar to get the creative juices flowing. When you do begin producing ideas, try to keep them related to a particular subject. For example, if you are looking to branch out to another segment of the sign industry keep to that topic with the ideas. It is easy to allow your mind to come up with ideas on where to vacation, but that is only good if you are getting ready to take a holiday.
"Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people."
--- Eleanor Roosevelt
Next, brainstorm with your team for additional ideas. At this stage, do not try to poke holes in anyone's suggestion, but as in the solo idea dumping, stay on topic. Brainstorming is a great way to get everyone involved to creatively and collectively submit ideas for solving a problem or inventing a new way of doing things.
"At Microsoft there are lots of brilliant ideas but the image is that they all come from the top - I'm afraid that's not quite right."
--- Bill Gates
Be sure to give credit to the team for coming up with an idea when it is implemented. If applicable, give credit to the individual or individuals that came up with the solution. This is a great way to ensure that all are appreciated and therefore onboard with the direction of the business. A sense of loyalty is created or reinforced at this stage.
"Enthusiasm is the yeast that makes your hopes shine to the stars. Enthusiasm is the sparkle in your eyes, the swing in your gait. The grip of your hand, the irresistible surge of will and energy to execute your ideas."
--- Henry Ford
The point of idea generation is to know that somewhere there is an answer and you can find them with the right enthusiasm and the will to come with a host of ideas. If the desire is strong enough, the ideas will come.
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