» Idea: From Concept to Greatness Part 1

Idea: From Concept to Greatness Part 1

Idea: From Concept to Greatness Part 1

I get questions all the time from creative leaders, artists, and event/church goers asking how I come up with some of the ideas that they think are great. It’s really easy to think that I, or people like me, are “idea machines” and come up with and crank out greatness in our sleep. Sometimes I’d like to believe that myself! In reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Many books have been written on this subject and I could write one myself, but for today’s post I’m going to break it down into a couple of bullet point ideas. These are by no means all inclusive, but they are things that I value very highly and have helped me tremendously.

LOOK FOR IDEAS EVERYWHERE:
I try to let my surroundings inspire me to create. Whether I’m at a basketball game, playing with my daughters at the park, or watching TV, I try to always be open to feeling the creative mojo. I also carve out time in my schedule that is specifically for watching concerts, church services and videos online. There is so much creativity around us all of the time, if we are open to seeing it, it can dramatically impact the ideas we have.

STEAL, STEAL, STEAL:
Ecclesiastes 1:9 says, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”
I have accepted that I’ve probably never had a truly original thought. When I see or hear something that I believe is great or incredibly creative my first thought is, “how can I use this or some form of this in my current situation?” I believe that there is nothing wrong with using someone else’s idea. Don’t be too proud to cash in on someone else’s greatness.

STRETCH BEYOND YOUR PREFERENCES:
One of the most difficult things for me to do, but something that creatively has proven to be the most rewarding is getting out of my comfort zone of things I like. I consistently and purposefully listen to music or watch concerts from genres that I don’t particularly enjoy. I watch movies that are styles that don’t really entertain me and read books and blog posts that don’t interest me. No, I don’t do these things to punish myself even though sometimes it may feel like it. I do these things to stretch myself. I don’t care for rap music very much, but some of the most creative things that I’ve ever seen as far as production goes have come from watching concerts from artists such as Jay-Z and Kanye West. Some very boring documentaries have shown me better ways to conceptualize video production and tell a story. If I were to only watch and listen to things that I enjoy I would miss out on a ton of innovation going on in the world.

SURROUND YOURSELF WITH PEOPLE SMARTER & BETTER THAN YOU
I saved this one for last, but for me, this one is probably the most important. I often say that if I’m the smartest or best person that I talk to or am bouncing my ideas off of then we’re in trouble. I have a group of friends that we are spread all across the country. We all do very similar things for a career. We know that individually none of us are as great as we are as a group. Knowing this, we bounce ideas off of each other all the time. We call, email, text, video chat, and share ideas constantly. Almost never does one of us have an idea that we share with the others that the idea remains unchanged. Sometimes the feedback may be, “bro, that idea is horrible”. When that happens, it’s not personal, it’s your friends helping you and looking out for you. Most of the time you will receive input on what you could do to make your idea better if not great. For an idea to truly become great you can’t be married to the idea. You have to trust that you are surrounding yourself with people that are going to push you and help you to shape what the “best” will be.

In part 2 of this post I’ll get deeper into the process of taking a good concept and making it a great idea. We’ll look at some of the difficult things that have to happen, the frustration that you may feel and the joy of seeing the execution. Today, look around, be inspired and see what that inspiration pushes you to create.

Copyright Michael Cleveland 2014 Up