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2 minute read | Ideas, goals, creativity, brainstorming

The Idea Distillery

Matthew Hart

Written by Matthew Hart

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How do great ideas go from the best brains of the world to our bank accounts? Seriously, how on earth do humans come up with things like the iPhone, Facebook, and Amazon? Well at one point all these great services or products were plans on paper and before that they were just ideas. What was it that took these ideas and made them real?

Great minds simplify complex ideas until they are in a form so simple that the skeptics not only understand them but sometimes they will get behind it and promote it. The art of simplifying a complex idea comes easy to some but impossible to others. The latter is only true because they just haven't been able to practice a simplification model that works. I want to introduce you to what I call "The Idea Distillery." It is a simple process of questioning your idea to draw insights out of them and to discover their potential.

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First, you start with the entire idea. Write it out completely. Don't leave anything out. Next, you say that big idea in one sentence. Make it short and sweet. The third step is to say the entire idea in one word. That one is hard. Either you won't have a single word, or you will have 15 one-word descriptors of your big idea. Just pick the strongest one that is closest to your company and the future you intend to design.

Once you have the idea in these different states up simplification, it's time to find out if you can actually accomplish it and more importantly if you SHOULD accomplish it. The 'should' question is essential. Just imagine getting to the end of implementing a great idea that does nothing for your company.

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First, ask the question "Does this awesome idea align with who we are as a company and where we are going?" This question is excellent at killing great ideas! Don't worry just because it is a great idea doesn't mean you should pursue it. You see ideas on their own are just that. Now an idea that pushes your company forward is the idea you want your entire team to get behind. Don't be afraid to let some great ideas die if they can't answer the question above. If some ideas get very close to being able to accomplish your company goals go ahead and rework them. It's better to revise a close idea so that it shines a bit brighter and align better with who you are and where you are going than to just trash it and start over.

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The next step is to turn this great idea that will push your company forward into a bite-sized action plan that you can start working on every day. Start by breaking it down into the smallest step possible. Once you've broken it down, ask "can I accomplish this step in a day or less? If you can't then break it down again and again until you can answer 'yes.'

Once you have this simple step weave it into your daily task list. With consistency on your part and some time your big idea will happen!

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What ideas are you working on right now? Share them below in the comments. We'd love to help brainstorm with you!