Let’s do a fun exercise together: last time you said “I have an idea” - what came after it? Was it a piece of new information that solved a specific problem, or was it rather a… thought? A suggestion? A task even?
For a thought to be called an idea (as in “creative ideas”), it needs to be novel. If you already know what to do, then this thought is just an answer and probably even a call to action.
Why is this important? Because if we learn to make a clear distinction between ideas and thoughts/answers/tasks, then we eliminate the risk of thoughts/answers/tasks interfering with our real idea generation process. Already as is we tend to come up with a dozen safe ideas before things get interesting, so in order to raise the bar on our starting level we need to be clear on definitions and eliminate everything that is in fact, not new, from the brainstorming session.
So next time you hear yourself say: “I have an idea”, ask yourself:
is it unique? Does it provide a new solution to a problem?
If it doesn’t, it’s probably not really an idea.
Read more in this week’s story on Medium where I give you my personal example of a difference between a thought and an idea. And last time I said “I have an idea” it was about launching a new service for my company - this one!