3 MYTHS ABOUT THE ORIGIN OF IDEAS
When assessing the origin of an idea, try not to be influenced by the following myths:
Myth 1. Good ideas come in a “Eureka!” moment
Most great ideas have had a long incubation time, even if it sometimes seems that they arrived all of a sudden. Innovators like to tell the story of the moment of insight, often leaving out the 99% of perspiration that came before it. Sir Harold Evans said, “The trouble with the eureka myth is that it causes managers and investors to overestimate the pace of invention, and underestimate the fortitude required to move from the early stages of discovery to a marketable product.”
Myth 2. Good ideas are totally original
Innovation is often a combination of things – think of kite surfing, where surfing met kiting. It can take time for an idea to find its true application, and originality may have nothing to do with its potential. In a Tweet, famous Venture Capitalist Marc Andreessen mused that, “When you have the timing right, you almost always feel like you’re too late. Terrified you’ve missed the window = a great sign.” While visionaries have original new ideas, pragmatists have successful ones. You should select an idea to test market readiness, not product novelty.
Myth 3. Experts are best placed to come up with good ideas
Experts worried about their reputations often miss the playfulness or the willingness to fail that is required to come up with the new. Involve non-experts. Ask your hotel’s front-desk staff for their opinions on the restaurant’s menu, and see what happens. Try not to overrate the opinion of people with authority because innovation may not be what got them there.