badideaophobia: the fear of bad ideas 😉 If we have it then its probably a good time to lose it…

This is an email from a friend from several years ago that I’ve always treasured, and am reposting it here again in the wake of so many idea related posts off late. Got an email from a colleague recently along the lines of “Very frequently I get new ideas. Some may sound innovative in the beginning. And some sound stupid after some time. ” which I believe is quite common to all of us, hence posting this here…

(Btw the following is related to chess (people mentioned are probably famous chess players) but its quite context-independent as well)



I used to think that the creative imagination was something mysterious and intangible, which could neither be described nor trained. While there may always be something elusive about artistic creation, some thinking by people like Liam Hudson and Daniel Dennett gave me some cause to hope. Creativity is not a simple product of unfathomable inspiration, but a result of firstly, generating lots of (mostly junky) ideas, and then weeding them out to discover the ones that work. If this is true of the expressive arts, then it surely also applies to chess, where the ideas have such concrete prompts on the board, and the selection of the ideas that work can be put to the simple test of analysis.

Put simply, this suggests that someone like Tal can come up with great ideas because they come up with loads of ideas, good, bad and indifferent, and then can select the great one. The problem with most of us is not that we are failing to come up with enough good ideas, but we are failing to come up with enough ideas, full stop. Our ability to spot combinations is limited by our tunnel vision, considering only a few moves of a stereotyped nature, and not having the habit of looking at every thing once, no matter how foolish at first sight. Developing imagination, then, is not a matter of learning how to do something terribly magical, but to some extent involves putting aside what you think you know (retreating pieces is bad, putting your Queen en prise is bad) and considering moves that only very good players – or very bad players! – look at.

Source: unknown


Another related post is from Nipun who writes:

Compassion Capitalist

I often feel like a venture capitalist. Except that instead of the scarcity
of money, I’m dealing with the abundance of compassion capital. Anything is
fair game, if the heart is truly behind it. Translating that intention into
action, the way I figure, requires three things:

  • idea: gotta have a good idea. But that’s not worth much in this
    idea economy of the information age. If you search long enough on Google (or
    sites like idea-a-day), you’ll
    realize that practically all your ideas have already been thought of before.
    Instead of running to the patent office, let’s talk humility.

  • implementation: until an idea turns into action, it’s fantasy.
    Based on solid knowledge of best practices in the sector, you have to build
    a feasible implementation plan and set out timely deliverables. But most
    importantly, you have to have authentic leadership, which can only be built
    by “being the change” for the values you stand for.

  • timing: what good is a product if no one cares? You can use all
    the marketing gimmicks to sell, but unless the conditions are ripe, it just
    won’t work. Business schools readily teach post-rationalizations of
    anomalies, but every successful entreprenuer will tell you of the “luck” or
    “in the right place at the right time” element. Add some awareness to luck
    and it quickly becomes wisdom.

So whenever someone asks me for advice on a project, or I ask myself, I
counter with: can you be detached with your “cool” idea? do you have the
gung-fu to stand behind the principles that will power the momentum of
your implementation? instead of a hit-and-run with “luck”, are you willing to
cultivate awareness to understand complex conditions?

Source: Nipun’s InnerNet: Compassion Capitalist

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