Introduction: Anyone Could Have Done It
Good ideas are often either dismissed as obvious or, as author Charles Leadbeater says, destined only to be had by “special people in special places”—
Someone else was there with the ideas first, but the people we celebrate and want to emulate had an inkling about how to breathe new life into those products by making them meaningful to those who would use them.
The truth is, the best marketing in the world can’t save an idea that hasn’t been developed with an understanding of who it’s for and why it will matter to those people.
Every breakthrough idea starts not with knowing for sure but by understanding why it might be important to try.
Part One: What’s Stopping You? Hang-ups and Hurdles
Data— that which we can easily measure— is supposed to make us smarter, and maybe it can, but I’d argue that it doesn’t always make us wiser.
We are rewarded for knowing the right answers from a young age. So we learn to give them, because repeatedly coming up with the wrong, or unexpected, answers can put you at a distinct disadvantage both in school and beyond.
How much time do you devote to creating, thinking and questioning?
Pedestrians have become so immersed in their smartphones that the city of Sydney is trialing in-ground traffic lights in an attempt to cut pedestrian deaths on the city’s roads (sixty-one pedestrians were killed on New South Wales roads in 2015; that is up 49 percent from 2014).
There is rarely a moment when we’re not reaching for our devices in order to react and respond to the inputs, ideas, thoughts and requests of others. We don’t allow ourselves time to be bored. We hardly ever devote time to thinking our own thoughts. There are fewer opportunities to notice, question or idly create. No headspace to think problems through.
Part Two: From Everyday Insights to Groundbreaking Ideas
The reality is that truly creative solutions often begin by reimagining the problem or reframing the starting point and the end goal. True innovation isn’t about finding an alternative that gets us from A to B; it’s about envisaging new As and Bs. It’s about being open to redefining where problems begin and where solutions must end and working out why it matters that we make these new connections or forge different paths.
The same is true for breakthrough ideas. We can be blinded by what we think we know and ignore the opportunity that’s right in front of us.
A hunch is a combination of insight and foresight, brought about by understanding what is and questioning what could be. It can feel like a snap judgment or a sudden spark of inspiration, but it’s informed by our expertise, past experiences and the practice of noticing patterns and anomalies in the world around us.
..their hunches are born from insights that arise because they are curious, empathetic and imaginative.
When you dig deeper into their origins, you’ll find that the people who give birth to winning ideas are curious, empathetic and imaginative.
These people are not special— they’ve just learned to pay attention to what the world is waiting for.
Part Three: The Who, the What and the How
There are three types of curiosity. Diversive curiosity is our hunger for novelty; this is what makes us click on cat videos and keeps us scrolling through Facebook feeds. Empathetic curiosity is the drive to understand another person by trying to see the world as he does.
Epistemic curiosity is our deeper, more directed quest for understanding that prompts us to explore, ask questions and make connections.
“Curiosity is the most powerful thing you own.”
It turned out that girls didn’t want to build for the sake of building. Girls wanted to know why they were building. They wanted to understand what it was all about, where they were, who they were building this for and who was involved.
The frustration The problem The solution Describe the change that occurs in people’s lives after they have adopted your solution.
Prompt Visit the CoolHunting.com or Trendwatching.com websites (be careful; you might lose yourself for hours down the rabbit hole of discovery of cool things). Choose an idea, a product or a service from the list of those presented, preferably one that you wouldn’t use yourself.
Ask for his backstory
Research has proven that we’re more creative following the execution of a boring task that doesn’t require us to use our imagination.
How we choose and what we pay attention to influences what we imagine, the things we have the foresight to create and ultimately who we become. What truly deserves to occupy the moments that will go from making up your minutes to influencing the impact you make and the legacy you leave?
Moments of insight are shaped by the experiences that lead up to them, and we cannot ever know the true impact of the thousands of experiences and encounters that made each of us who we are— or how they influence the judgments we will go on to make.
The truth is you don’t have to be part of a team that’s developing a self-driving car or coordinating a mission to Mars to change the world. It’s possible to change tiny corners of it with simple, thoughtful ideas.
Meaningful ideas, created with intention and patience, that take time.
At the heart of every Next Big Thing is a personal quest to make a difference, to change someone or something, to do meaningful, fulfilling work that makes a difference to others. Our Next Big Thing is always the work we’re proud to have tried.
You can’t simultaneously care about something and then shrug your shoulders with indifference in the face of failure. Fear and success go hand in hand.
When you look back at anything you’ve achieved (however small), you realize that your success was always preceded by fear.
Our job isn’t to play every possible note. It’s to play one note every day that we’re proud to have played, and often to enable other people to do the same. We can’t begin until we get comfortable with not knowing for sure. In the words of the Spanish poet Antonio Machado, “There is no path. The path is made by walking.”
Genius is wherever someone is trying to find it. The difference between those who don’t find it and those who do is that they trust themselves to begin. Trust yourself. Begin. Hunch.
*Disposable diapers account for around 4 percent of all household waste and it takes five hundred years for them to decompose.