Big Idea Development – The First Step

“It’s much easier to not know things sometimes.” Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower.Image of idea development team.

The individual who has no ideas can find that life is much easier lived. Without ideas, there is nothing to do. Without ideas there are no risks to take. Without ideas, the likelihood of failure is much less.

When you know things, you begin to have ideas, and when you begin to have ideas, things begin to happen. People begin to respond to you. They either respond with excitement, roll their eyes in disbelief, or begin to fear you.

So why, then, do so many of us pursue idea development? Why do we insist on creating new ideas? Or, if we have no good ideas, why do we try to seek them out?

Idea development is a natural process in humanity. Everything we own, use, discard, began as an idea. The computer I’m writing on was once an idea that was scoffed at, and yet, it’s creator persisted to pursue the idea.

How did he do that? What is the process of taking a spark of inspiration and turning it into a physical object like a computer, our a masterpiece of sound that is the symphony? How does the individual or business with no ideas come up with and development valuable ideas?

Idea Development – Step One

Positive Attitude – The right attitude can make or break any idea development process. A positive attitude is the energy that drives creativity. Successful idea development relies on creative thinking. Without it, you will spend a lot of time at the drawing board.

Negative Attitude – Negative thinking has its place in the development process. However, when negative energy is brought in at the creation stage it can defeat the entire process.

It is essential to create and maintain a positive attitude in the initial stages. If you are creating in a group, set ground rules that permit acceptance of all ideas. Reserve the negative idea analysis for a separate time, once you’ve closed any creative sessions.

“Daring ideas are like chessmen moved forward. They may be beaten, but they may start a winning game.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Entering negative analysis too early in the game can lead to the defeat of good ideas and even prevent them from entering the field. The premature loss of a good idea on the alter of negative thinking can have expensive consequences.

Good ideas are like diamonds. You won’t often find them lying about on the surface of the ground. You may have to dig for them. This process is eased by keeping the process positive, allowing the introduction of any idea, however ridicules or seemingly impossible. These impossible ideas often lead to winning ideas that may be just the diamond you have been looking for.

Idea Development Rule Number One

All ideas are to be received with open arms.

Positive Encouragement of an Idea.

  • How can we do this?
  • What if we added, expanded, improved, enhanced, etc. the original idea?
  • And then?

Ideas should be received, recorded, enhanced if possible with related ideas, and left for further evaluation and analysis at a later date.

The creative process is a compounding process, easily grown through encouragement, or defeated through premature negative analysis.

Many ideas suffer a premature death when a member of the group, a friend or family member, or even the person who came up with the idea, prematurely states, “That’s impossible. That can’t be done. Nobody’s ever done that before.”

Even in the later stages of idea development, the negative analysis stage, these comments are destructive.

Negative Analysis of an Idea

  • Is this idea worth the investment of time and money?
  • Is there someone already doing this better and cheaper?
  • Are there any technology barriers to this idea?
  • Do we have the staff or support to bring this idea to life?

You will notice the difference in these two types of questions; positive and negative. The proper negative analysis of an idea validates the viability of the idea, instead of just knocking it down because its value is not yet seen. It determines if this is the right time for this particular idea. The purpose of this type of analysis is to identify any red flags or barriers to fulfilling the idea.

When done separately from the idea creation stage, this process allows the individual, company, or group to fairly evaluate individual ideas without dampening the creative process. Data can be analyzed in this process, along with supporting market research, to help determine whether it is practical to pursue the idea, or shelve it for development at a later date.

Using this simple, positive first, negative second, process will continue to foster idea development in the future. When group members know their ideas will be listened to, no matter how amazing, ridiculous, or imaginative they are, they will continue to look for and grow ideas until the next creative session. Far too many ideas have been flushed down the drain through the improper use and timing of negative analysis.

Give your team or group permission to put all their creative juices to work, without fear of rejection or criticism, and you will open the doors to a flood of creative energy.


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