8: Most new ideas aren’t

Most new ideas aren't.  Someone, somehow, somewhere already thought up the essence of what you're thinking about.

Which is all the more reason to keep plugging away.

Accepting that someone else already had your idea is liberating, because it frees you up to learn.  It moves the focus from what's going on in your head to what's going on in the world.  Much of innovating is actually about stealing ideas from one context, connecting them to other ideas, and putting them to work in another.  Where can you find analogous experiments or successes or failures that can inform your own work? Remember, before Facebook there was Friendster.  And before the iPhone came the Newton.  You can choose to live ignorance of what came before or what is happening in other parts of the world, or you can dive in and embrace all their hard-won lessons as your own.

Best of all, standing on the shoulders of giants is a free activity.

At the end of the day, if someone else has already had your idea, then the goal shifts from having ideas to making them real.  Innovators ship, dreamers don't. 

So what's keep you from making your idea real?

This is the eighth of 21 principles.  Please give me your feedback and ideas.

5 thoughts on “8: Most new ideas aren’t”

  1. big fan of your principles…
    love this one because it reminds me that there is always room for better (so why hold back?) and for competition in the marketplace.
    thanks!
    e

  2. This series is very helpful — thanks for sharing!
    When it comes to “ideas” I think of a favorite quote; “ideas are like children, their special when they’re your own.”
    But as you point out, most ideas are some form of an adopted child.
    Keep creating…practical surprise,
    Mike

  3. Thanks Diego!
    You say: “Much of innovating is actually about stealing ideas from one context, connecting them to other ideas, and putting them to work in another.”
    But I think Facebook and Friendster are the same context. Facebook executed in a way that was more broadly appealing (e.g. not carrying the “hook-up site” stigma, maintaining privacy better.)
    So I’m getting caught up on your “context’ and “analogous” experiments, when I think you mean don’t be afraid to steal from anyone and make their thing better.
    John

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