In my last blog, I wrote about how to come up with a brilliant idea. I also gave you homework, asking you to write down ten good ideas every day no matter how silly or outlandish they first appeared. Do you know that in 1923 a food scientist came up with the idea to convert the yeast cells in brewery waste into a salty black paste? Basically, he thought it would be a good idea if Australians spread ‘beer slops’ on their toast every morning. Guess what – it was a great idea! Of course, the food scientist was Cyril Callister and the black spread was Vegemite, which Aussies love and the rest of the world thinks is disgusting. But at first you have to admit that Callister’s idea sounded pretty mad – well, the best ideas often do!
In today’s blog, I want to look at how you can develop a mind that will come up with innovative, money-making ideas. I have seven suggestions for you to try when developing a mind that will generate clever ideas.
1. Digest Quality Information
I have always encouraged people to grow their minds – to continue on the path of self-education. To come up with creative money-making ideas it is essential that you feed your mind only quality information. Great ideas are fuelled by intelligent information, not trash-TV and tabloid magazines. To come up with good ideas you need to be connected to the world and constantly reading and learning. You need to read biographies about entrepreneurs in your area of expertise. If you want to make your money in IT, read about the greats in IT. If you want to make your money in real estate, read success stories from your industry. Also, be reading all the trade magazines to be across the latest developments in your field. You’d be pretty disappointed if you came up with a great idea only to learn that someone else had put a similar product on the market six months ago. Learn about the new developments and trends in your industry. You might have an idea that could extend on or enhance a new development. Also read and view only quality news services. Read international newspapers and current affair magazines to find out about trends overseas. You may be able to apply something you see abroad in the country you live in. Also watch documentaries and quality movies. Every piece of information you consume, whether from books, websites, TV or the movies impacts on the quality of your ideas.
2. Talk about What You have Learnt
To improve your ideas, it is essential that you discuss what you have recently read about or learnt. You need a circle of people who will help you grow your ‘ideas intellect’. To get the most out of new information we need to be discussing and analysing it with others – this helps us understand the information in a deeper and more thorough way. Who are your friends? Do you have friends or acquaintances who share your passion? Can you talk to them about trends and the achievements of people in this field? In the past I’ve asked you to find mentors and also to be aware that your friends will have a big influence on your prosperity. You need a stimulating network to help grow your mind and improve the quality of your ideas.
3. Write Down All your Ideas throughout the Day
It is essential that you write down your ideas whenever and wherever they come to you. Always carry an ideas notebook with you and keep your ideas notebook by your bed. Often brilliant ideas arrive in dreams. Paul McCartney said that the song, ‘Let it be’ was perfectly formed in his head one morning when he woke up. Marry Shelley, the author of Frankenstein, said the idea for the novel arrived in a dream. And it’s not just artists who were inspired by their dreams. The father of quantum mechanics, Niels Bohr, said a dream led him to discover the structure of the atom.
4. Talk about your Ideas Out Loud
I’ve said many times that it’s vital to have a good mentor and a good circle of friends who are interested in our passions and ambitions. It’s important to talk to them about what we are learning and reading, and it is important to discuss our ideas with these people. They are a springboard for our thinking. Expressing a concept out loud also helps you consolidate and clarify your idea. You can expand on your notion. Good friends and mentors will assist you in refining and adjusting the idea. When talking about a new idea your friends and mentors will ask you questions. This is part of the process of developing a concept into something more than an idea, into a workable plan. Also try to ask yourself questions about the functionality of the idea. Some people role play, for example they pretend to be their old school teacher or a parent and then interrogate the idea from a new viewpoint.
5. Go Macro, not Micro
When looking for business or creative ideas try to see the bigger picture. Look at everything from a macro point of view. You need to zoom way out when looking at an issue and observe broad trends. I’ve said this before but in business if you can identity a problem then offer a solution, you are on to a winning idea. What are people’s main problems? What are their day-to-day gripes and struggles? How could you help them?
6. Look for Inspiration
Other ways to encourage creative thinking is to vary where and when you do your thinking. In my previous blog I suggested writing down 10 ideas relating to your passion every morning. What about going for a walk on the beach then writing down your ideas or go camping for a weekend and write down ideas while away. Meditate or pray for half an hour then list your ideas. Exercise or listen to stimulating music then write down the first 10 ideas that come into your head. Needless to say, it pays to look after your physical health if you want to make the most out of your brain. Eat well, exercise and get enough sleep. That will definitely improve your quality of thought.
7. Choose your Best Ideas
Once you have a long list of interesting ideas, choose what you, your friends and mentors consider to be the best ideas. Take that process of analysing and discussing seriously. At this point I’m sure you will have come up with a couple of very solid ideas. The next stop is rolling out your idea – making it work in the market. That will be the focus of my next blog.
ABOUT PAT MESITI
Pat Mesiti is a best-selling author, coach and educator in the area of personal development. Having built some of Australia’s largest people-driven organisations, Pat understands the power of harnessing human potential. He has shared the stage with some of the world’s great business minds and has sold over millions of copies of his books and materials.