“The power of ideals is incalculable. We see no power in a drop of water. But let it get into a crack in the rock and be turned to ice, and it splits the rock; turned into steam, it drives the pistons of the most powerful engines. Something has happened to it which makes active and effective power that is latent in it.”
What does it take to change your life?
The answer: one powerful idea.
Jeff Bezos had an idea. It resulted from studying what he might sell on the internet. The idea became Amazon.com. It made Bezos a millionaire and changed the way books are sold.
Reed Hastings dropped off a rental video on the way to his local health club. He wondered why you had to pay a late fee on videos if but you paid the same monthly fee to belong to a gym no matter how often you worked out. The idea was the genesis of Netflix, the paradigm-breaking DVD rental business.
Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak had an idea: creating a personal computer. At the time, computers were anything but personal. They were large enough to take up an entire room and prohibitively expensive. Apple Computer was born, and so was the age of personal computing.
Fred Smith had an idea to deliver packages overnight, regardless of destination. That was the genesis of Federal Express, and the invention of a new distribution system.
The Frappuccino was invented by a Starbucks store manager who served it to customers without CEO Howard Schultz’s knowledge. When Schultz found out about the experiment and tasted it himself, he personally didn’t like it. However enough other people did that he tested and refined it before the rollout in 1995. Within 36 months it had generated $100 million in revenue.
Not all ideas are that large or industry-shaking. Sometimes an idea helps you save a little time, get more done, or improve a relationship. These are “little i” ideas. At other times an idea can make you money in the stock market, create a new product or result in a promotion.
Call those “Big I” ideas.
The distance between you and your dreams is often only an idea-wide. Someone once said that to be creative, you just needed to have lots of ideas. If you have enough, they don’t all need to be good ideas. In this case, quantity is the road to quality.
To Do: Commit to capturing one good idea each week (and maybe a few mediocre ideas more often). Keep an “idea list.” Periodically review the list. Identify the “little i” and “Big I” ideas. Implement as many as you can.
Had any good ideas lately?