Where Do Your Great Ideas Start?


Although you might think that the great ideas (and many not-so-great) that I have start in my mind the genesis really doesn’t start until I actually write it down.

For me this is a valuable barometer of how interested I am in a concept, a product, a project, or an initiative. You see, I don’t give it permission to enter into anything practical unless I give up time to document it somewhere permanent, or at least more permanent than just in my head.

It almost doesn’t matter what language it is (as you can see above) but rather that you can interpret it and that it captures the essence of what you were thinking. This act of writing it down creates the bridge between “just another idea” to something of tangible value.

All that to say, this is where great ideas start for me.

The next step is just as important, if not more important: I need to tell someone about it. I need to share it with someone, even at the risk of being laughed at.

I need to tell this person about my idea and I use what I write down to help diagram it out and give it some legs. I’m looking for two responses in particular:

  • Do they understand the problem? Can they recite it in their own words?
  • Do they understand my solution? Can they internalize it and begin to own it?

I’m not looking for advice of it’s feasibility, it’s profitability, or whether it’s a “good” or “bad” idea – I need, at the core, validation of the problem and solution.

Great ideas start on paper and build momentum when shared with others.

  • http://gravatar.com/marcuswilliamson Marcus Williamson

    Good word.

  • http://simplealwayswins.blogspot.com John Gurnick

    John – For me you are right on this one. So many things start with a picture or words on a page and then you socialize and build collaboratively from there. Just found your blog and will follow going forward!

    - John Gurnick

  • http://twitter.com/BenjaminGerrish Ben Gerrish (@BenjaminGerrish)

    For all the technology I use and study, my biggest ideas always start -> With a blank piece of paper.

  • http://dustn.tv Dustin W. Stout

    Man… I need a new journal. I’m waiting on the new Evernote Moleskin! I love your process John. Thanks for sharing!

    • thejoshbjones

      There’s an evernote moleskine coming out? Awesome. Gonna have to look into that. John, was that a behance action journal? Have you tried that against the rhodia meeting notebook? What are the advantages it has to why you use it?

  • http://ericspeir.com/ Eric

    I agree with you as well. I have a black notebook that is my “idea book.” If it doesn’t get in there, then it probably doesn’t get a second look.