Where Many New Ideas Come From

Where do new ideas come from?

When you are stuck in a rut of sameness, when you need some fresh creativity, when you are looking for something that will drive momentum – where do you find the ideas?

In my experience, many of the new ideas for churches and organizations where I have led, and ideas for my life, have come while I was actually doing something else – often unrelated to the new idea.

As a pastor, when we were planning a worship service was when some of the best ideas for the church originated.

Often when I’m working on a blog post, I get several new ideas for a blog post.

While working to complete one program or activity is often where a spark of some new program idea begins.

We tend to sit around and hope the new ideas will simply fall from the sky, but they usually don’t.

Activity often drives creativity.

I once read a list of 12 things that were developed actually as a mistake when working on something else.

  • Potato chips
  • The pacemaker
  • Silly putty
  • Microwave ovens
  • Fireworks
  • The slinky
  • Corn flakes
  • Ink jet printers
  • Post it notes
  • Chocolate chip cookies.
  • X-rays

I can’t verify the stories behind them, but I can verify the principle that many times while doing something else – often totally unrelated – is when I get some of my best ideas.

That’s because new ideas often come from doing.

Of course, we have to be intentional to look for the new ideas along the way. We have to be open to them and we must be brainstorming as we work; looking for key places we can innovate, explore and grow as individuals and organizations. But if you want to learn to innovate, if your organization needs changes, if you need some new ideas – often when you do more you’ll discover more.

But sitting still and waiting for “genius” to come seldom happens in my experience. Even “brainstorming” can be an ineffective process if not done well. It is along the way – in the course of “normal” work – simply discussing more, trying more, experimenting more, testing more and taking more risks where I have witnessed the best ideas developing.

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Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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