Ideas are the seeds from which all greatness grows. Every book and every company started from the spark of an idea. Ideas come on their own time and in their own way. Those who understand this principle find a sure path to success.
The key to benefiting from ideas is to capture them. You need to write them down in a place where you can review them and use them when the time is right. In his audio book “Capturing Million Dollar Ideas,” Richard Paul Evans recommends keeping and “idea journal” with you at all times so you can capture ideas as they come. This is important because you can never control or predict when ideas will come. He further discusses five things to know about your ideas:
- Your life if the sum of your ideas.
- Ideas are like butterflies, they come at any time and they appear unannounced, flittering through your mind as if to find capture. Creating a place to capture the ideas seems to attract them, and in greater number. “A discovery is an accident meeting a prepared mind.”
- Ideas, no matter how brilliant, have a very short shelf life.
- You may not understand how big an idea is until later; some ideas need to age like cheese and wine to come to value. In come cases, you need to grow before you realize just how big a concept is.
- Ideas beget other ideas.
Remember, ideas come on their own time. When ideas come to you, write them down.
The Product Management Perspective: Ideas are the fuel for great products. The difficulty for many product managers is capturing ideas and filtering the potentially great ones from the not so good. That topic deserves its own post (or perhaps its own book). The key point here is that you, as the PM, capture the ideas that come to you regardless of the source. The more ideas you capture the more likely you are to get the perfect new product or feature. Many times ideas will seem silly or absolutely unobtainable; write them down anyway. Over time circumstances change, technology improves and opportunities appear that you do not expect. The more ideas you have captured the better prepared you will be to develop your ideas into the next great product.