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Three stages of an idea

You and I have MANY new ideas everyday. There is no dearth of ideas. However, majority of these ideas will never see the light of day.They die in our minds. But, we choose to pursue a small subset of those ideas.

How do you determine which ones to kill and which ones to pursue? It’s a million dollar question, really.

Here is one model to think about what makes you pursue some ideas and what makes you abandon most of them. At each stage, there are a few attributes that become VERY important – so I have chosen to include a short note with each of the attributes in various stages.

So, here is that simple model:

#1. Think

This is where you are bouncing off many ideas and determining which ones to pick.

The focus attributes in this stage are:

Curiosity: Curiosity moves you from the sidelines, right into the arena. It’s an entry ticket to the playing field. Without curiosity, you are a mere spectator.

Connection: You may be curious about many things, but not all of them will you connect with so much that you want to spend your time, energy, money and other resources to pursue them. For example, you might think of a new kind of crib or a baby stroller, but you just may not connect with that brilliant idea enough to do anything about it.

Conviction: You make a deeper connection when you feel it in your gut. That’s when conviction comes in. You just know that this is something, that you want to make it happen.

#2. Tinker

This is where you have zeroed in on one or two ideas to pursue. You are now mobilizing the resources to pursue those ideas.

The focus attributes in this stage are:

Challenge: You know it takes time, energy, money and other resources to make this work. You know it’s not going to be easy. You know that the odds are stacked up against you. You know that you may not get all the support to make this work. Yes, you know lots of things might go wrong and still, you are willing to face the challenge and pursue that idea.

Courage: You are bold enough to take the first step – this is where the rubber meets the road.

Capacity: You are able to convince enough people to build the capacity now and in the future to make this idea a reality.

#3. Take Off

This is where you are off to the races with the chosen ideas.

The focus attributes in this stage are:

Creativity: Things won’t happen the way you planned out. That happens only in the movies. In real life, it’s all about “improv” – real-time re-adjustments and adaptations. You have the creativity (within yourself or within the team that you have put together) to keep the momentum going.

Change: You are not only for change, but you look forward to it. You welcome it. Change is the name of the game for any idea to go from a concept to reality and you have to be able to embrace it with grace.

Commitment: You are committed to see this through and it shows up everyday in your words and actions.

Next is to create an opportunity roadmap.

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