The most valuable asset on the planet is a new idea. The surprising new solutions to old problems. The reinventions that change our lives and disrupt the way business is done. Ideas make money. And save money. They create competitive advantages, differentiation and wide motes out of model-thin air.
So why is it that a small handful of organizations seem to have a monopoly on great ideas? Nike, Google, Apple and Facebook all seem to pump out new ideas like Kardashians pump out selfies. While other organizations are simply one-hit-wonders, too busy dancing the Macarena with Rico Suave and Mickey to have another 99 Red ideas.
At The Perfect Agency Project we think the problem is simple. To generate great ideas you need two things.
- Time to think.
- A place to think.
I won’t get into the time issue here. Time is the most precious and most wasted commodity on Earth. Wait, I just got into the time issue. Backing out now. Beep. Beep. Beep.
To make sure you are creating the best ideas possible you need to have a great place to think. I call this a Think Well, because:
- You think well in that space.
- When you find your place, ideas flow like water from a well.
- It sounds like Inkwell.
- I like a good triple entendre.
Does your office have a space people can escape to, that is quiet and relaxing? Where people can think uninterrupted for a long stretch? Sure, senior executives usually have offices where they can close the door, put their feet up and imagine things like John Lennon did. But what about the rest of the team? Maybe you have a Think Well at home. If so, work there more often.
The downside to the open concept work environment, which eliminate offices, is that you decimate the natural thinking habitat. Which threatens the thinking population. Despite their popularity and low-cost per square foot, cubicle farms are not good at growing ideas.
There is a simple way to discover if your office has Think Wells: ask your employees. ( I thought of that in my Think Well). If they say they have such a place, encourage them to spend more time there. If they don’t have one, send them on a mission to find one. If they can’t find a Think Well, you need to create one.
I’m a big fan of the quiet section of the library. I’ve always gotten a lot of work done there. The no-talking mandate simply means I start talking to myself, in my head. Which is exactly what thinking is. That’s why every organization should have a quiet, comfortable space where you can go to let your mind jog. Innovative thinking requires pumping the thoughts and ideas from deep in your mind, into your conscious brain, where you can process them, and translate them into physical form.
As Napoleon Hill wrote in Think and Grow Rich:
“More gold had been mined from the mind of men than the earth itself”
So find your personal Think Well. Create a space for others. Then enjoy the ideas and the value they produce. Oh, if you know anyone from Baha Men, please forward them this post. I’m dying to finally know who let the dogs out, and if they ever came back.