It all starts with an idea. The problem is how do you differentiate between an amazing idea, a cool idea, and one that is completely rubbish?
This will be your first step before deciding to spend the next few years of your life suffering to make your idea come to life.
For the sake of this discussion I’m excluding amazing ideas. For me these are ones that save lives or make life 1000 times better. Like the invention of the wheel, anaesthetic, how to make beer or hamburgers.
Cool ideas are easier to come by and we all have them somewhere in our brain. Some will suit you, your network of friends or your style. Others might be for larger populations such as people that cycle daily or parents that need a solution for smelly nappies.
So how do you get the ideas out and once they are shining away how do you decide if they are worth pursuing?
Chances are you will not get an idea by sitting on the loo scrolling through your facebook feed or while you’re out drinking with your mates. In fact you might not get an idea at all during your day-to-day life.
I wake up, get the kids ready, take them to school, spend the day trying to focus on my work, pick them up from school, make dinner, put them to bed and then try to get some more work done in the evening before crashing out. Quite depressing now that I list it like this.
I find the best time for thinking is when I walk. Long walks really help to unwind my thoughts and think about new things at the same time. Everyone however has different ways to focus or get inspired.
I really like this video on where ideas come from:
I’m not sure if it’s possible to decide: ‘now i need to have an idea’. The eureka moment could arrive whenever but it does help if you’re mentally ready.
So put your phone down, shut your laptop and go out for a walk, a coffee or a run and think about the things you do and the things you love. Maybe write a few ideas down every day or focus on the one you like the most.
You have an idea, now what?
You have to decide if you can make the idea happen. Do you know the people that can help you build it or are you able to find them? Do you know enough about the tech or science to develop the idea yourself or to know exactly what you need? I have 100s of ideas but if I can’t realise them they get shelved (basically all of them).
OK so you’ve had an idea, you’ve thought about it and you could make it happen. Now you have to decide if it’s any good.
The first rule is do not tell your mum or dad. Or your incredibly supportive best friend who always loves your ideas. They will tell you it’s great even if it isn’t. This is the most important time to hear the truth.
Tell people and see if they understand it quickly. Check their initial reaction and don’t force people to like it. If they don’t like it listen to their reasons. Discuss it with people that are not your intended audience and others who might be involved in the scene your idea is part of.
If it’s a new concept and hasn’t been done before be careful but at the same time do not be too precious. This is the first step of a huge mountain. Be as realistic as possible and tear the idea apart or tell someone who will do that for you. If the reaction is positive prepare a quick presentation of the idea to illustrate it better and show more people.
I had the idea for dubble when i was walking home from work (a 45 minute walk i used to do nearly every day). I got home and told my partner that i had a cool idea for a photo app. She didn’t like it at all. That was my first set back. I didn’t try to convince her but it was the first hint that dubble is not a product for everyone. Over the next months I told many people from all angles of life and the general feedback was that it was an awesome concept. Finally I made a quick presentation and showed people in the industry for “real” feedback and it was still very positive. This is when I decided to bring the idea to life and the battle began!
The only idea sharing platform I know of is Open Future by Telefonica. If you know any please let me know