How to Nurture a Good Idea

Write it down. Think about it. Talk about it. Refine it. Implement it.

A good idea can come from anywhere. From a conversation, from something you saw online or heard on radio or TV. From a dream, from a brainstorming session, from something you recall from years ago. Sometimes a good idea just erupts organically inside your head. Other times, the idea struggles to climb out from deep within your gray matter.

When your good idea presents itself, write it down. In a paper notebook, in a Word document, in your Notes app. Or speak it to your Voice Memo app. Or jot it down on the back of a magazine or newspaper. How many good ideas have been written on cocktail napkins in bars? Lots! Some people keep a notepad on their nightstand to write down good ideas that pop up while waiting for sleep. Don’t let your good idea slip away.

Once you’ve latched on to this good idea, think about it. Slosh it around in your brain. Is it really a good idea? Are you the person who can put this idea into action? Is this a new idea or just a variation on an old idea? Is this good idea one that can actually work? Who will benefit from this idea… you, your client, your family, all of mankind?

If you’re still convinced this is a good idea, talk about it with a trusted associate or family member. Don’t be upset if they try to shoot holes in your good idea—after all, you are soliciting their honest input. In talking about the good idea, you may come up with even better ideas. Confirmation of the idea’s value from another party can provide encouragement needed to bring the idea to fruition.

Working to refine the idea can be difficult. If your need is not urgent, take your time. Consider several ways to improve your good idea. Does it need to be bigger or smaller? More specific or more general? What element is missing that will transform your good idea into a brilliant idea?

When time and circumstances are right, implement it. If your good idea leads to a desired result, analyze the reasons why. Can the idea work again, perhaps on an ongoing basis? If your good idea turns out to be less than effective, try to determine its shortcomings. If you believe your original good idea still has merit, you may want to go through some or all of the process again.

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