Ideas! Where do they come from… and why are they important?

Some days, the wellspring of your creative genius just seems to have run dry. Try as you might, you can’t come up with good ideas for that high-profile marketing campaign, the launch of a new product or service, a fresh sales promotion, or solving an everyday problem. Your originality, imagination, inspiration, inventiveness and resourcefulness are all depleted.

Businesses thrive on a constant flow of new ideas, but some studies show that most companies fail when it comes to unlocking the creative potential of their personnel. The gripes and grumbles your employees share among themselves while on break, or with friends via social media can be powerful, potentially game-changing information when offered as suggestions for ways to improve the business. Even ideas for small, incremental changes can sometimes yield big, dynamic results. But where do we get these ideas? Probably not from the places you think.

Books, blogs, and articles can make for inspirational and informative reading. Speakers and trainers can be great motivators. But the ideas that are the life force of a business rarely come from these sources. You might believe great ideas pop into our heads when we’ve set aside quiet, contemplative time. But you would be wrong.

Great ideas come from inside us and inside the people with whom we interact, often at serendipitous moments. They come from curiosity about and active engagement in the world around us. They can materialize at the moments we’re trying to resolve mundane, everyday problems, or when we’re trying to resolve nothing at all. Who hasn’t had an epiphany while lying in bed, taking a shower, having a meal, commuting to work, exercising, or chatting with a friend?

Good ideas result when people develop collaborative relationships with colleagues

In a business environment, good ideas result when people develop collaborative relationships with colleagues. Work environments in which people feel comfortable identifying problems and suggesting solutions are ripe for new possibilities. When people communicate and work together, fresh ideas emerge. They surface on project teams. They flow in brainstorming sessions where even the most hair-brained thoughts are built upon rather than dismissed.

Ideas are like fertilizer for freshly tilled soil. Good ideas come from preparation, commitment and identifying those things that must be in place for the business to achieve its goals. Your team members will feel a greater sense of ownership and responsibility for strategies and goals when their ideas have been incorporated.

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