13 Aug

How to Grow Ideas

idea garden

I was thoroughly taken with a post Chris Brogan put up on his blog today about seeds in a wild garden—about having and sharing ideas and watching them grow.

But how do you grow ideas? What do you need? Here’s my take, which I posted there….

To be an excellent “sower of seeds” you need certain things—or have the desire and capacity to learn or acquire them as you go along:

1. Fertile ground, and the ability to recognize it. Is this a group of people, an organization, a market that has the potential for growth and change? Remove the rocks, pull the weeds.

2. Fertilizer. If the ground isn’t ready as-is, what needs to happen for change to take root?

3. Lots and lots of seeds. Never underestimate the power of luck, both good and bad. You may have perfect seeds, and a perfect environment, but some might just not grow. More seeds = higher probability of success.

4. Time. You don’t get from seed to plant without all the in-between steps. Some plants grow faster than others, but they all have to break from the shell, put down roots, push up to the soil, and grow. And that takes time—and patience.

5. Attention. Another word for this might be care. You have to tend your garden. If the environment is drying up, you need to give water. And you need to know when to lay off and let mother nature do her work.

6. Tolerance for failure. I’d rather plant 100 seeds and have 25 fail than plant only 10 with complete assurance they’d all survive. In one case I have a 25% failure rate—but 75 plants. In the other, nothing dies, but there’s only 10 to keep growing….

7. For any of the above, know someone who can do it better than you, if you can’t. Most of us aren’t great at all of these things. But you probably know enough people that when you all work together, you can accomplish great things.

What else do you need to make an (idea) garden grow?

Note: this post originally appeared on ‘Round the Square.