The Idea Hunter – Andy Boynton | Bill Fischer

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The idea hunter takes you through the steps of ‘hunting’ for inventive and innovative ideas. These are of course the foundation of any business, it is the ideas that you sell to the customers and the ideas that make the business. Boynton and Fischer believe that ideas are not things that come to those who are lucky but are things that can be purposely found. They break idea hunting down into four main principles: being interested, being diverse, exercising what you know and agility. These can conveniently abbreviated to I-D-E-A. Ideas are the most valuable things in society, more valuable than skills, it is china that makes the iPhones but apple that gets the big money and the reputation because they had the ideas and ideas have great value. They only ever grow in value if you act on them, but you do have to act on them that is the key. It wasn’t the discovery of stone that lead to the stone age, it took millions of years of evolution for a species to develop that could use that stone and use it in a way that added huge value to it. It’s the same for ideas, it takes some real skill to transform something around you into a product or service of value.

Learn To Hunt For Ideas

First things first, you have to find the idea, the inspiration and this according to the idea hunter is achieved through the hunt. Ideas some to those who look for them, you cannot leave the discovery of huge value up to chance. Ideas can be found anywhere and chances are they will be found in the most unusual of places. Look in places that you don’t usually spend your time, you will have already exhausted those routes. You cannot expect great new ideas to be found in your everyday life but you can expect to be inspired by unusual environments. Go out to bars you’ve never been in or conferences that you wouldn’t usually consider. The famous Norwegian explorer Roald Admunson said that ‘there is no one so stupid that he does not have something valuable to say’. Talk to people you would usually steer away from because somewhere inside their head will be information that you can use to further your goals which brings me onto the Idea Hunters next point know your gig.

Know Your Aim In Life

What is your gig? your gig is your main aim in life, it is what you want tot provide the world with, your fundamental philosophy for life. Dr. Fresh owns an extremely successful dental hygiene company, his gig is to provide families around the world with a way to keep their mouth clean. He knew exactly what he wanted to dedicate his life to. So when he saw his daughters flashing shoes he didn’t just think what a nice pair of shoes they were he stole that idea and stuck it on a toothbrush. The result: a flashing toothbrush that children loved brushing their teeth with and millions of pounds in his bank account. The Idea Hunter says to use this principle throughout your life, you will find ideas to further your ‘gig’ and fulfil your life true purpose.

Seek Knowledge Everywhere

The idea hunter tells you to be passionately curious. ‘Interested not just interesting’. Albert Einstein once said to the world ‘I have no special talents, I am only passionately curious’. This is coming from one of the cleverest and most influential characters in the world of science. Every thing is out their ready to learn, what you should do according to the Idea Hunter is just go out their with a desire to find it and it will appear to you. Curiosity adds value to what you see, Steve Jobs saw a scroll wheel on a Hewlett Packard work machine and stuck it on an iPod, that iPod was a game changer in the music industry and served to make him barrel loads of money. It’s like Picasso once said ‘Good artists copy, great artists steal’, use the information that is already all around you and turn it into something that furthers your ‘gig’.

Invest Time In Your Learning

The Idea Hunter tells you to invest one fifth of your time into learning and developing your knowledge. Warren Buffet and his partner Charlie Munger invest one hour of their day into self development and valuable conversations. Google also follows this principle and allows it’s workers to spend one day a week working on their own projects and ideas. apparently 50% of Googles ideas come from this one day a week of learning. So you too should invest time into your self. Henry ford says ‘it’s not enough to be busy so are the ants. The question is: what are we busy about?’. How true is that, if any thing is a valuable use of time it is investing it into learning because the more you know the more you can succeed, the more ideas you can get and the more productive you can be.

Don’t Invent, Innovate

The Idea Hunter says that it is extremely rare to be an inventor and that this should be reserved for the elite mathematicians and scientists. Instead you should invest your time into innovation, repurposing ideas. That is where huge value can lie because if you steal an idea from one place and use it to enhance you gig you can multiply it’s value almost infinitely just like step jobs iPod scroll wheel. Everyday people repurpose their ideas like when you have a great restaurant meal and it inspires you to create a similar meal at home but with a little twist. That is innovation but it has not been turned into profit. That is why you need to clearly know your gig so that every idea is focused and channelled into it so you can create the maximum value for every idea. Be deliberate and focused in your search and you can transform ideas from extremely diverse fields into ones with a specific purpose and of huge value.

Learn by Doing

You need to excersize your search: go outside and look for these ideas. It’s like Aristotle said ‘what we have to learn to do, we learn by doing’. Ideas are always around you but if you are never looking you will never see them even if they are in plain sight because they hide themselves. They present them selves in a different form and it takes a very keen eye to see what they will become when repurposed. The Idea Hunter says to write down everything that you see because it can be hard to spot an idea, what seemed worthless to begin with could transform into something of worth. If you record everything the you can never forget it and links between ideas can be made that you would never have thought of otherwise. One of the greatest innovators and inventors ever, Thomas Edison, was a massive fan of notebooks and through his life filled up 2,500 different ones. Learn from the best and follow the practices of Thomas Edison. But you don’t have to use notebooks use whatever you want, anything that saves information and allows you to access it. If you want use an email address dedicated to ideas and send them to yourself with informative subjects or make notes on your phone. The method doesn’t matter as long as you do it.

Make A Habit Of Merging Unrelated Ideas

The Idea Hunter says to be agile when looking for ideas, this means being to take all different types of ideas that don’t appear linked and join them together to make something new and amazing. They use Gore-tex as an example, there gore fabric was first used for clothing but then an engineer working on artificial blood vessels managed to transform it into break cables, which then morphed into puppet strings and after that guitar strings. Now those products seem to have no relationship at all but one idea hunter managed to link them and create products of value. Ideas don’t always come in the form that you think and they don’t always give you the product you expect, but if you are agile then you will make great products anyway.

Kill Off Ideas That Aren’t Going Anywhere

According to the idea hunter if you follow these practices there will come a time where you have so many ideas to be practical, at this point you need to kill some off and focus on the ones with the most prospects. Make something tangible and visual so you can see, feel and experience your ideas. Prototypes are great for this, you can easily and quickly get responses from people. You get a bad response the cut the idea and ficus on something worthwhile. Fill up a wall with post it notes each with an idea on, now you can see them start screwing up the rubbish ones. You will find it easy to kill the bad ideas but the hard part will come when you have to start killing the good ones, just remember if you focus on too many ideas then you will end up with a final product that tries too hard to do too many things. Be ruthless and remember if you store the ideas you can always use the ones you kill at a later date.

Ask Yourself If Your Ideas Contribute To Your Life

The final questions that you have to ask yourself are, according to the Idea Hunter, are: does it contribute to your gig? Do you want to be associated with that product? Will you learn things along the way that will develop your gig? Is there anything about it you don’t want to be related to you?

Enjoy your hunt. If you feel inspired to read the full book and support the authors then you can buy it here.

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