It was 4.a.m. when I adjusted my eyes to the darkness to check my watch. Awake again! But what was it that woke me...ah yes I had a great idea for my business. I spend some time thinking about the idea and how it might work before drifting back to sleep.
Today I sit at my desk and having completed much of my “must do” work for the day I cast my mind back to this morning. Now what was that idea again? I search my brain...and I know it is just there, almost in my grasp but I can’t quite remember.
It probably wouldn’t be so bad if this was the only time I had inspiring ideas and failed to capture or remember them but it isn’t. My mind is constantly buzzing with ideas. It might be some new idea I have had for a training course, a blog topic, a twist or new use for some management model, a business generation idea, a solution for a client that I haven’t thought of before, and so on.
It is great that I get all these ideas but the problem is that I hardly ever remember them and therefore I never know how good they were or if I could have used them for mine or someone else’s benefit. What a waste!
So I have had another thought – I can’t be the only one with this problem, and maybe I can come up with some tips on how to manage those ideas.
1. Find a method of instantly recording that suits you – people use all sorts of ways to record idea, Leonardo da Vinci was very fond of notebooks but if you prefer use your PDA, email a note to yourself, use a voice recorder, build a word document, excel spreadsheet or whatever. The more accessible it is though, the greater your chances of capturing those really great ideas
2. Be every ready – once you have a good workable recording method get using it. Don’t be afraid to jot something down even if you are in the middle of a meeting (it is often the comments of others that lead to our best ideas)
3. Keep a repository of ideas – even discarded ones are valuable and may benefit you in the future
4. Use a process like Mind Mapping or Idea Mapping to link and develop ideas (there are numerous free tools or you can learn to do it on paper)
5. Review and evaluate your ideas regularly – use the “Who, what, where, when, why & how” questions as a starting point to test the validity of your idea
6. Try it out – there have been a couple of ideas I have been procrastinating over for at least 6 months. Why? Because I am afraid they won’t work. But sometimes you just have to try it out and if it doesn’t work out, learn from it and move on
And why would you do all that. Well quite simply ideas and creativity lead to development and growth and are a cornerstone of any business, even more so in the current climate. The challenge is in harnessing those ideas and creating an environment in which you allow yourself to be inspired. Undoubtedly this is a simplistic view of how those ideas might be managed and is only a stepping stone to increasing creativity in your business.