How to make a good idea great

ideaI love it when I have a great idea; I want to offer a unique contribution in life that makes things better for people but I don’t know about you, I often find out that something I thought was a great idea has already been thought up by someone else.

It’s hard to identify truly unique ideas, especially in health where many of us are thinking as hard as we can about how we can do it better. I spend a lot of time with people who are enthusiastically thinking up plans and ideas about really important things. But there is one thing that struck me recently – why do people not ask around and join up with other people who may also have thought up the same idea, make the idea great?

 “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Aristotle


Sometimes it’s about self-confidence, the confidence it takes to ask. I see much great work going on and I spend many hours trying to connect people together. I see people struggling with the same issues as their neighbours in other hospitals, communities, homes and work. I think we need to work harder at connecting, at liberating ideas and allowing them to be solved by networks and communities.

For once I’m not just talking about the power of social media – I mean literally talking to each other. I don’t believe anyone needs permission to find collaborators and to share. Why do we persist in thinking in organisational silos?

So, my musings for the last couple of weeks lead me to the conclusion – we need to get out more!

So, if you have a great idea:

  • Talk to as many people as possible about your idea;
  • Look around and find out if anyone is working on the same idea or problem, the internet (and twitter) make this so easy!
  • Has someone already had your idea – can you elaborate their idea and make it even more fabulous?
  • You don’t need permission to chat to other people – go on, seek out networks and communities;
  • Ignore hierarchy – good ideas come from everywhere and your idea may well be the unique one everyone is looking for; and
  • Don’t be afraid to share – my grandma used to say you will always get back more than you give.

DreamsAll those nurses and midwives out there that I meet – go and talk to your neighbours; wards, hospitals, communities and never be afraid to keep dreaming new dreams.

9 thoughts on “How to make a good idea great

  1. Brilliant blog. This is exactly where I’m at with my thinking at the moment about the best way forward. I know your post is not about Social Media as such, but I do think that Social networking helps to facilitate cross network connections quite effortlessly:-)

  2. I agree that social networks have a place and for me they are invaluable but I wanted to be clear that it really is about making connections in any way we can. Pick up the phone – anything 🙂
    Thanks for commenting x

  3. Hi Annie, I like this and I particularly like your grandma’s advice – very wise. The sooner we all realise and embrace your grandma’s approach, the sooner the world will be a better place. I always tell myself there is no such thing as a new idea, takes the pressure off somewhat!! The more we connect, through any media, the better. Thanks for blogging this, really useful reminder 😀

  4. Another great blog Annie. As you say, quite often others have already ‘had’ your idea but aren’t in a position to do anything about it. Sharing ideas can enable us to build up the critical mass and momentum to take things forward and if a broader range of people and organisations are involved at the outset, there will (hopefully) be less resistance at the implementation stage. I also agree that it’s not all about social media, but, social media has led me to some interesting ‘real life’ conversations with people I probably not have come into contact with otherwise, so it’s a great starting point. 😊

  5. Good post Annie, there’s much work to do about cross silo cultures towards collaboration. The properties of emergence, serendipity and growth of new ideas is now so easy with these technologies. I really worry that we are only scratching at the surface and soon we will see an exponential growth in learning and sharing. I guess that will be scary for some – a sort of ” we’re not in Kansas anymore” moment.

  6. It is not just a good idea, it is essential. I am privileged to see hundreds of great initiatives in health and social care every year and it is always a frustration that few of these seem to be taken up by others(even by other teams in the same organisation). It is a huge waste if we don’t ensure the spread of good ideas, and one we can’t afford.
    I appreciate that we work in diverse and complex organisations and what works well in one situation might not be appropriate in others. But I can’t believe there is not a wealth of great practice that should become the norm across the country.
    Ideas about how we encourage spread of good ideas are welcome and your blog is a good contribution to the debate. Thanks.

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