I 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.