Where do great ideas come from?

Jul 12, 2021

I have often heard people say that the hardest thing to come up with is a brilliant idea, regardless of which industry you are in. To some extent, that is true. Great ideas are hard to come by and they are also unpredictable. They can spring up from anywhere.

Picture a graduate student tarmacking looking for a job and notices the huge surge of diapers being disposed of carelessly, hence affecting the environment. This menace he witnesses gives birth to a brilliant idea on how to recycle used diaper waste into renewable energy. That’s the story of one Dennis Mungata who, together with his friends, started Leafy Kenya. (You can read more on this story here).

Creativity can be quite elusive at times. Ernest Hemingway, a famous writer, once stated that he sat at his table to write and waited for the muse to strike. When it did not, he forced himself to write something even if it was the events of the day. In so doing, an idea no matter how obscure it was, sprung up. This goes to show that when you are actively thinking about something whether consciously or subconsciously, an idea will find you unexpectedly. Consider the bathroom moment for instance. Many ideas have been birthed while many people have taken showers.

In his most popular book, ‘Think and Grow Rich,’ Napoleon Hill talks about the power of the subconscious mind and its great ability to produce outstanding ideas. He advises dedicating an intense time thinking about a problem at hand then leaving it alone. Store it at the back of your mind as you go about other day’s tasks, the subconscious mind will be working on it behind the scenes. Eventually, you will get your eureka moment. I have on many occasions tried this and it works.

One indisputable way of fishing new brilliant ideas is through discussions with other people of like minds. I believe this is what produced what we now call brainstorms. Targeted discussion can breed great ideas. Focus groups are one such opportunity that produces brilliant ideas. With the right team, a blurry concept can be developed into a grand idea which in essence will produce the desired results. Whether it is a business problem you are facing, or a new concept you are developing, create a team that you can discuss it with and reach a solution.

While at it, do not forget to tap into the subconscious mind and see what magic lies in there. Sadly, one person said that the richest place on the planet is the graveyard. That whereas finding a grand idea can be tasking, some people with great insight have failed to develop their ideas into anything meaningful. 

Make it a point of implementing what you have because in doing so, new and better ideas find you.

By Muindi Kimanzi


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