But Steven Johnson shows how history tells a different story. Advertised on daytime TV and pressure sold, funeral plans might seem like a good idea but they frequently aren't argues consumer expert James Walker He is the founder of a variety of influential websites and writes for Time, Wired, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Then there are the ideas for which any screen is beside the point. But he attributes the company's fleet-footedness to the decision he made three years ago to bring in a chief operating officer. "Ideas come out of those meetings, if not at them," he says. moments. The sheer volume and quality of ideas a growing company consumes means that it's no longer feasible for a CEO to take each one firmly in hand, clutching it tightly through every perilous intersection. And what does this have to do with the creation and evolution of life itself? Inventive ideas for the first five years. And when they truly die they are unmourned and unremembered. No army can withstand the strength of an idea whose time has come. Victor Hugo tags: ideas. Both the web and the city has proven to be places of . That's what Tom Lix calls his version of it, anyway, using language that sounds borrowed from those revered business strategists Beavis and Butt-Head. MYTH 3 'If you listen to customers, they'll tell you what to do', What Cameron Kuhn is about to say would be considered heresy in some quarters, where CEOs have come to believe (much to the annoyance of their salespeople) that tagging along with salespeople is a can't-miss strategy for collecting ideas. From a visit to the clothing store Old Navy, Levine got a merchandising idea for the gyms: the company logo, emblazoned on canvas, draws customers' attention to high shelves loaded with clothing inventory. By clicking subscribe, I acknowledge that I have read and agree to Penguin Books Australias Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. About six months ago Kuhn came up with another idea that helps him stay focused. But for a CEO (or a salesperson, for that matter) to distill a workable idea from what customers say requires much more than merely nodding attentively; the suggestions must be filtered through an ever-more-detailed screen of knowledge about what ideas suit the company. Amos set about getting that mind working within his first 90 days of taking over as CEO in 1996. "Ideas are the raw material for solutions, not the solution," says Arthur VanGundy, a professor of communication at the University of Oklahoma. While we know it has been a challenging time for some people with a disability, there have also been some positive changes that have happened. People often credit their ideas to individual "Eureka!" Hot products, no matter how unlikely their success (read Beanie Babies), are the most obvious of those endangered species. (Hey, we said he was eccentric.). With innovative and multi-functional products, we have your needs in mind. http://www.ted.com People often credit their ideas to individual "Eureka!" The idea of luxury, even the word "luxury," was important to Arabella. The invitation to participate is most effective if employees know how they can have an effect. Medium is an open platform where readers find dynamic thinking, and where expert and undiscovered voices can share their writing on any topic. And the CEOs who generate ideas most consistently are mindful of doing whatever they need to--hiring, delegating, reorganizing--to give their minds time to roam. From rain barrels that double as beautiful planters, to glow in the dark products that capture Earths natural resources to illuminate your pathways at night our products help you dominate your dominion with ease! At Good Ideas, we create sustainable products to help you create a yard that helps you, and the planet. Like the one Jinwoong's Scott Reeves points to as a current favorite, a simple project-management tool he calls a "product-development system," a calendar that enables managers to keep better track of key deadlines as they create multiple new products. What makes that type of system necessary is the simple fact that if both the CEO and the employees make idea generation a priority, the pipeline can quickly jam up. Furthermore, Amos is also holding monthly two-and-a-half-hour "renewal" meetings for all employees, to provide updates on ideas in development. moments. To tell the truth, they should be no more than half-baked. "If you stay up, that's when you get very creative." Your most powerful message will come from happy customers, so make sure the ambiance of your club provides a unique experience that will have people wanting to come back as soon as possible. Silly Putty, for instance, started as a wartime substitute for rubber. The choice has paid off: sales increased 45%, to $5 million last year, and Schroeder expects to double sales this year. What do you think of that?" Why have cities historically been such hubs of innovation? "We listen to our customers but not in a traditional sense," says Brad Cary, president of CIBT Inc., a $12-million provider of visa, passport, and other international-travel services, in McLean, Va. "You have to read between the lines. Where good ideas come from by Stephen Johnson [ CIT A TION Joh10 \l 1033 ]is a book about . Your employees would be unlikely to doubt you (openly, anyway) if you attributed the idea you cherish most to your fanatical devotion to feng shui, the newly faddish Chinese practice of arranging a room to maximize the flow of energy. ALSO BY STEVEN JOHNSON WHERE GOOD IDEAS COME FROM The Natural History of Innovation "We hope she will become a supplier of herb plants and related products for us," notes Raap. But Steven Johnson shows how history tells a different story. That's a backbreaking burden for any CEO. When he got back to the office, he started talking to people in the hallways, one or two at a time, almost shyly bringing out the bottle. Sign up to our newsletter using your email. Penguin Books Australia A Penguin Random House Company. "Every company has a collective mind.". Of course, not every entrepreneur relishes the idea of giving up operational control, but there's also the option of loosening up: you might force yourself to delegate whatever administrative tasks you can't complete in about 20 hours a week. "We come up with hundreds of ideas and bring a few to market," says CIBT's Brad Cary. Not to mention ditching myths about the role of customers and employees--and even your own exalted status as idea czar. The branding idea was nothing less than a godsend. The vineyard owner talked about harvest conditions, this list of things the crop had gone through to bring these grapes along. But there's a reason such simple--indeed, civilized--approaches don't work anymore: competition. Check out this list of best products to sell from home using dropshipping model you will know what to sell. Magic Ball Wireless Bluetooth Speakers with Subwoofer: This high quality speaker is everyones choice as it produces a wide audio spectrum. That means opening the rest of the process up to them. Once you've adjusted your own role to make room for idea gathering--as well as motivated and educated your employees to work with the raw material of ideas--there's one more tool you'll need to join the ranks of the top idea generators: a suck index. Available at a price One of the simplest insights that comes from supply and demand is the availability of goods in the marketplace. "The owner's name was right on the bottle, and that impressed me." Good Nightclub Marketing Ideas to Increase Customers. Most successful small business ideas come from individuals who work for someone else but they believe they can do better. The annals of entrepreneurship are, of course, filled with such crowning moments. Study the history of good ideas, he urges, and you'll find that the best of them tend to come from the worst "with high frequency." Amos, fully aware that following up on the best ideas would be the only way to keep them in circulation, created a new-business-development group. Susan Greco is an articles editor at Inc. and the greatest good you can do is to bring back a new idea, because our world is endangered by the absence of good ideas. For six months the employees spent eight hours a week developing their new-product ideas with the help of mentors. But every blast leaves a mess in its wake. "Coming up with new ideas used to be one of my favorite pastimes," says Warren Schlichting, cofounder of Yucatan Foods, a $3-million company in Santa Monica, Calif. "I simply don't have the energy or the motivation anymore.". He knows he did his part. I needed to churn out idea after idea. As much as Mike Stephenson's story may sound like the proverbial lightbulb-over-the-head experience, what happened after that dinner is much more illuminating. The products in this post were updated in May 2018. Crunch CEO Doug Levine assesses all ideas in terms of his endlessly repeated mantra: How will this enhance the brand? Prices adjust to equate how much people want to buy with how much people want to sell. Learn more. Most countries are not on track to meet their 2030 emissions goals so they must take swift, decisive and ambitious action to limit global temperature rise and keep the climate crisis from escalating. With so many business ideas, finding the right one is easier said than done. Steven Johnson Where good ideas come from People often credit their ideas to individual "Eureka!" Scott Reeves, president of Jinwoong Inc. USA, a $57-million division of a Korean camping-equipment powerhouse that's turned out more than 2,000 tent models alone, seeks inventors out. The company decided to go beyond what the U.S. Department of Agriculture required seed-corn suppliers to provide on their tags, he says. Dining in a noisy Manhattan steak house with his accountant, a German investor, a New York City investment banker specializing in agriculture, and assorted lawyers, Stephenson actually began reading the label aloud. What do the printing press and Apple have in common? "There was a personalized message. ", Back in 1992, for example, Cary got a call from a potential customer looking for help in streamlining the process for obtaining visas for workers heading overseas. After all, he has new-product meetings scheduled for almost every week this year. Make yours stand out with a costume requirement or unusual location. Recently, he's even been dreaming up ways to encourage his 35-person office staff to act more professionally in the midst of hypergrowth at EnviroCheck, which ranked #268 on the 1997 Inc. 500. Host of the PBS series How We Got To Now and the podcast American Innovations. When figuring out how to come up with a game idea, you can iterate on an already-popular game (take a developed idea and tweak it so it feels new and exciting), incorporate innovative technology into old games (AI, VR, etc. "For years we'd been looking for ways to pull ourselves out of the commodity market, set ourselves apart," he says. "The cycle of growth, of decline and renewal, is so compressed today," notes Jim Amos, CEO and president of franchisor Mail Boxes Etc., which has faced stiff competition. Like the earth under your feet, a price is supported by the value the customer perceives in the product or service to which the price is attached. His fascinating tour takes us from the "liquid networks" of London's coffee houses to Charles Darwin's long, slow hunch to today's high-velocity web. Innovative ideas are the competitive edge for most entrepreneurial companies. Though Stephenson provided the original spark, he hardly claims credit for all that followed. Explore ideas worth spreading. The line helped boost the company's sales from $7 million in 1988 to $18 million by 1992. But with lots of ideas, such a phase doesn't render a simple death sentence; after being rejuvenated and reappearing in a slightly rejiggered state, some ideas return to pass with flying colors. I think its more of a perception than the reality. Simple. "When the customer described the problem, we realized the solution would be a specific software program," says Cary. For speaking inquiries contact wesn at leigh bureau dot com. Today all 120 employees know the critical target numbers, such as the average gross margin dollar per square inch of catalog space, so those who want to come up with a great new product idea know what their goal should be. Common good, that which benefits society as a whole, in contrast to the private good of individuals and sections of society. It can seem as if such tools take all the fun out of the process, forcing every flight of imagination to crash-land in a mountain of paperwork. For the CEO and president of Executive Presentations Inc. (EPI), a $15-million integrated-marketing company based in Rockville, Md., living by his wits has become a necessity. His rsum alone attests to his idea overflow: not only is he the founder of EnviroCheck, a fast-growing $5-million provider of energy-conservation services for building owners in Orlando, Fla., but he has also started or taken over some 22 other small ventures. Each week, he enters his ideas on a simple form in his computer that allows him to examine target markets, marketing and pricing factors, the estimated start-up capital and time commitment, and the three-year revenue potential. "But these other competitors were already there.". The good news is, with a little practice, you can come up with ideas whenever you want to. While Kuhn's creativity is driven by the sheer love of starting companies, Ethan Assal believes that if he hadn't pursued hundreds of possible new ideas, his company very well "might have gone out of business." In Where Good Ideas Come From, Steven Johnson, one of our most innovative popular thinkers, explores the secrets of inspiration. For starters, three managers now share the job of running the company's operations. Not that all of Assal's initiatives have succeeded--there was a disastrous foray into 24-hour photo shops. As industries consolidate and product cycles shrink, even the best ideas--with patents as their pedigrees--come under assault practically on arrival. Here are some myths about where good ideas come from and ways to stimulate idea-generation at your company. A person who has everything would not appreciate the beauty of the things he or she already has. But watch them in action and it becomes clear that they've made explicit trade-offs, with the aim of weaving idea generation into a daily discipline. And what do we need to know and do to have more of them? Why have cities historically been such hubs of innovation? "But they asked a lot of questions that made me think--they were thinking more about how do we implement this, and why.". Johnson presents the answers to these questions and more in his infectious, culturally omnivoracious style, using examples from thinkers in a range of disciplines - from Charles Darwin to Tim Berners-Lee - to provide the complete, exciting, and encouraging story of inspiration.He identifies the five key principles to the genesis of great ideas, from the cultivation of hunches to the importance of connectivity and how best to make use of new technologies. Even CEOs who see the virtues of face time with customers believe that it's only as useful as the process it's part of. At the other end of the spectrum, Mail Boxes Etc. But they do respect it. If the boss or anyone else should proffer an idea that scores a string of 10s on the suck index--hey, it's nothing personal. On the days he comes into the office, he often leaves around 4 and continues to brainstorm at home until he finally falls asleep--with a notebook by his side in case he thinks of something midslumber. Two years ago Oakshire Mushroom's Gary Schroeder and three managers started playing with a seemingly ridiculous idea--selling a product to competitors--while trying to address how to stem the loss of the company's 40% market share in shiitake mushrooms. The miniature Zen garden on your desk, for instance, won't provide any inspiration if you don't have time to rake it. Having started nine years ago as a slide-show producer, the company has found itself in one cutthroat industry after another--from systems integration to photo-lab services to Web design, adding hundreds of services in nine different niches. Aside from reacting to what's already on the table, customers can help out by identifying unmet needs. The result? "Everyone gets a $240 credit, and for every unprofessional act, an employee gives back $20. Who does? MYTH 1 'Ideas will just come to me, as they always have'. Levine even makes the time for strangers who've read about his company and who phone in their own ideas. How do smart entrepreneurs know where their next idea is coming from? Research questions often begin as more general research ideasusually focusing on some behaviour or psychological characteristic: talkativeness, learning, depression, bungee jumping, and so on. "A thought came to me last night," he says. Then came the marketing ideas; the company's product tag got a redesign--as did its brochures, followed by its fleet of trucks. By multiplying the two, he can "see if it's worth going forward.". In Where Good Ideas Come From, Steven Johnson, one of our most innovative popular thinkers, explores the secrets of inspiration. Like Gods die. But conceding that there's a mystical component to generating ideas doesn't mean you should assume that the process is out of your hands. What he had was too potent to limit to a few people. The same gut instinct that served them so well in turning an idea into a business proves just as adept at spinning out a steady stream of innovations, the kind that leave everybody around them wondering, "Where'd they come up with that?" Prices don't exist in a vacuum. So far, two major new services--including self-service computing kiosks in hotels--have resulted from Amos's formal idea-development process, and nine more are in the wings. Stephenson, like many entrepreneurs, considers himself a world-class snoop; he fishes out ideas and then sends them on for refining. From there, he ranks each one on a feasibility index and a profit index. Kuhn is continually looking for new ways to manage his arrangement better. CIBT's Brad Cary writes down every business idea he has--a habit he developed in business school. "I love my customers, but to meet with them would really muddy the waters," insists Kuhn. And just try selling anything from batteries to beds over a toll-free line (or the Internet) and you'll find yourself reduced to me-too status. The 10-second business name creator. When people want more of something, the crowd of more enthusiastic buyers rarely exhausts the supply. The idea is to come up with a '64-digit hexadecimal number' called a hash which unlocks access to a hoard of the digital cash. The impact of COVID-19 has been widespread and has changed the way many things work. It's not so much that they understand the process. One of Jinwoong's latest creations, an ungainly two-legged sleeping bag, originated when a New Zealand inventor came to Jinwoong with "a rough prototype," says Reeves. It may seem like all of the good business ideas or the best small business ideas have been taken, but they are not. moments. "We kicked around a lot of ideas--franchising, expanding geographically to be more local" to supermarket and restaurant customers, Schroeder explains. Read through our list of 20 ideas for competitive fundraising events, and then read The Guide to Technology for Non Profit & Fundraising Events to find out how to maximise your results. Until recently, the answer probably wouldn't have provided much insight. To help us recommend your next book, tell us what you enjoy reading. His idea "merited looking at," recalls Amos. MYTH 5 'Getting ideas isn't the problem; implementing them is'. In fact, it can be downright demoralizing. 676 likes. MYTH 4 'It takes only one brainstorming meeting to generate more ideas than we can handle'. The whole experience, Stephenson says, "made us focus on quality issues." There were family details, and he'd signed the label," Stephenson says, recalling details of that 1988 night as if it were last week. They can't identify all the trends," says Jinwoong's Reeves. "I just want to bring them better new products. CEOs looking to rear a steady brood of well-behaved ideas could do so by popping in at an annual industry trade show or by taking in the occasional customer comment. experience that gets a company started. Most exhilarating is his conclusion: with today's tools and environment, radical innovation is extraordinarily accessible to those who know how to cultivate it. Innovative ideas are the competitive edge for most entrepreneurial companies. Stephenson and entrepreneurs like him understand that generating ideas in the name of fueling growth is a wholly different task from the "Aha!" Even Kuhn concedes that he'll consort with a small group of key accounts once an idea has moved into the testing stage. "My sales manager got the idea, and so did my plant manager and the production people," he says. "Buyers have so much on their plate. Schroeder concedes that he broke the 20-hour rule recently to work on the financing of his next big idea. (For example, how likely is it that someone will sue if NewMarket creates a site for Howard Stern's fans?) idea definition: 1. a suggestion or plan for doing something: 2. an understanding, thought, or picture in your. Doug Levine knows where he needs help: figuring out which of his often-oddball ideas actually have promise. "You know that time right before you're about to fall asleep?" On the surface, Cameron Kuhn comes perilously close to the stereotypical image of the eccentric entrepreneur. Steven Johnson has spent twenty years immersed in creative industries, was active at the dawn of the internet and has a unique perspective that draws on his fluency in fields ranging from neurobiology to new media. What brainstorming meetings can do is send the message that employee input is valuable. "We broadened the initiative to increase the awareness that we need new products and that anyone can come across them," he explains. But even in his case, things aren't what they appear. It's not his concern. And what do we need to know and do to have more of them? he asks earnestly. The president of Great Lakes Hybrids Inc., an agricultural seed supplier based in Ovid, Mich., was too intoxicated by the wine's packaging to take a corkscrew to it. "Some of them are pretty crazy, but I listen to them all," he says. Given the program's success, Raap took the only logical leap: he junked it. It takes years to create a great brand, but you can have a creative brand name in seconds. (That helps explain why the gym chain has expanded into clothes, books, and videos.) By recognizing where and how patterns of creativity occur - whether within a school, a software platform or a social movement - he shows how we can make more of our ideas good ones. could offer more technical services to the home-office market. As a starting pointbefore conducting customer researchmany companies estimate that 10% to 20% of revenue will come from Good, 25% to 50% from Better, and 30% to 60% from Best. The six-member group's mandate is to evaluate, track, and refine the ideas that flood into a centralized database--at a rate averaging six a day--through the company's Web site or intranet, or from phone calls, letters, and E-mail. Find the latest Gladstone Commercial Corporatio (GOOD) stock quote, history, news and other vital information to help you with your stock trading and investing. They have the customer relationships--why would I want to step into the middle of that?". I have a great sales team. So Schroeder and his team arrived at an unconventional solution: they'd sell their expertise to rival farms. Johnson presents the answers to these questions and more in his infectious, culturally omnivoracious style, using examples from thinkers in a range of disciplines - from Charles Darwin to Tim Berners-Lee - to provide the complete, exciting, and encouraging story of inspiration. What do the printing press and Apple have in common? Better to treat idea generation just as you treat, say, hiring: preserve the part of the process you feel you need to do, and make sure the company can carry out the rest. You want to avoid things like "Carey's Cuties," which was overused back when Drew Carey first took over the show. The screen-test phase can vary widely among companies. Late last year someone stopped Jim Amos in the hall and stuffed a bunch of papers into his hands. 5K race Fundraising runs are a timeless way to raise money for a good cause. Hey, he thought, I can do this at my company--we'll sign our names on our bags of seed corn; we'll make a personal statement about our quality. Where do good ideas come from? "I was in my own world at that point," he says. He developed his own version of a "dash report," a weekly rundown of about six key marketing and finance ratios that tells him how EnviroCheck is faring. Updated 9/2/2020. From the era of the ancient Greek city-states through contemporary political philosophy, the idea of the common good has pointed toward the possibility that certain goods, Reeves's 1996 meeting with an Arizona inventor quickly led to the development of the Connection Tent, a two-room tent connected by a tunnel, which accounted for more than $5 million in sales in its first year. "It was a battle trying to move away from selling on price." His fascinating tour takes us from the "liquid networks" of London's coffee houses to Charles Darwin's long, slow hunch to But before you can find yourself in the right locale to scout out ideas, you'll likely have to abandon assumptions about where ideas originate, what kind of culture fosters them, even what the best ones look like at birth. Choose a Saying for Your Shirt Since "The Price is Right" is the longest-running game show on daytime TV, there's a good chance that your ideas have been used before. ), or come up with an idea The customer's people, he adds, "just knew they needed help." "The market changes so rapidly that at any moment you have to give up what you are for what you could be." "An explosion of ideas," he says. The results were more than encouraging: four staffers proved to be so skilled at developing good products that it's become part of their jobs. And everybody knows the type of CEOs who tend to star in such episodes: the tireless searchers who--on top of running their fast-growing companies--never seem to run short of either ideas or new places to scavenge for them. Amos, CEO of Mail Boxes Etc., listened intently as a member of the finance and accounting department detailed an idea he had for how Mail Boxes Etc. And it's still the company's premium brand. He identifies the five key principles to the genesis of great ideas, from the cultivation of hunches to the importance of connectivity and how best to make use of new technologies. Kuhn owes much of his ability to be creative to some very conscious decisions. By recognizing where and how patterns of creativity occur - whether within a school, a software platform or a social movement - he shows how we can make more of our ideas good ones.%%%Where do good ideas come from? Alternatively, you buy the currency with real money. 1. At a companywide strategic-planning session--to which he invited, among others, the company's top 50 franchisees, as well as vendors and board members--he solicited ideas that would take the company forward and still fit its culture. As he explained this to his dining companions, they listened but gave no reaction. Most exhilarating is his conclusion: with today's tools and environment, radical innovation is extraordinarily accessible to those who know how to cultivate it. Lix, CEO of NewMarket Network, a Web-site developer and marketer in Boston, has his eight employees rank ideas on a scale of 1 to 10 in five areas, including up-front resources required, technical complexity, and legal liability. None are stupid. What the suck index offers is an early-warning system to catch newborn ideas that aren't likely to thrive. uses a scale of minus 2 to 2 for each of 20 criteria, which are weighted to arrive at a total score; Jinwoong, the sporting-goods marketer, uses an "eight-link chain" model for managing decisions about potential new products; the links detail the company's strengths in eight areas, such as distribution and in-store merchandising. Im Steven Johnson, author of twelve books, including Enemy of All Mankind, Farsighted, Where Good Ideas Come From, and The Ghost Map. "Of course, we weren't in the software business at the time, but we decided on the spot that we could do it.". It all sounds very validating, but anyone who has mastered the process knows that the most powerful ideas share one other trait: they are resoundingly bad. Yes, they make it look easy. the space where innovation flourishes. "For the last holiday catalog, we got 50 ideas from two-dozen people that buyers could follow up on," brags Raap, who offers employees monetary rewards for their ideas. Shopifys free naming brand generator lets you jump from naming your brand to securing the domain name, to starting your small business - all in a few clicks. "I was too involved," he admits. As the bottle of wine went from hand to hand at Great Lakes Hybrids, Stephenson's original idea changed and grew. But he knew he'd made the emotional leap last year when he voluntarily vacated his office and moved into another building. 15 Potential Wholesale Products/Things To Sell From Home . Stephenson didn't much notice. The passion that enabled you to steamroll everyone who said your business wouldn't fly will exhaust you and everyone else if it's always on display. Two years ago Will Raap, CEO of Gardener's Supply Inc., a $26-million mail-order business based in Burlington, Vt., granted a half-dozen employees their dream assignment. Looking back on it, it would be tempting to dismiss Mike Stephenson's epiphany as the by-product of what can happen when entrepreneurs and alcohol mix. So advises Gary Schroeder, CEO of Oakshire Mushroom Farm Inc., a $5-million grower based in Kennett Square, Pa. Schroeder has for the past two years cleared his calendar so that more than half his time is spent doing what he loves: nurturing new ideas while getting his hands dirty in the greenhouse, and calling impromptu brainstorming sessions. "Ten got in, and three to four of them were better than average.". Oakshire Mushroom's claim to fame is a sawdust log for growing shiitakes that reduces the harvest time from four years to four months. It's that kind of incident that convinces Amos that meetings aren't enough. Just logging his ideas into a computer every week can help him assess whether a concept is worthy of future follow-up. Maybe because the bottle's contents were safely corked inside. Reeves had no hesitation about giving the idea, intended for his company's internal use, a thumbs-up. Before looking at how to turn such ideas into empirically testable research questions, it is worth looking at where such ideas come from in the first place. Ultimately, the inspiration that sprang from a message on a bottle triumphed in a new line, christened Signature Seed. And what does this have to do with the creation and evolution of life itself? The CEO of Crunch, an innovative New York City-based chain of gyms whose offerings include gospel aerobics and coed wrestling, gets his 30-person staff together weekly to discuss the offbeat ideas he gathers from all over: clothing and computer trade shows, restaurants, clubs, and competing gyms. In recent years CEOs have been battered--by competition or, even worse, by management gurus--into making employees part of the idea-generating process by just about any means necessary. In Where Good Ideas Come From, Steven Johnson, one of our most innovative popular thinkers, explores the secrets of inspiration. Ideas are best shaped through an ongoing companywide dialogue; what happens between get-togethers can be every bit as crucial as what happens during them. But Steven Johnson shows how history tells a different story. I knew licensing was a numbers game, after all. Steven Johnson is the bestselling author of Future Perfect, Where Good Ideas Come From, The Invention of Air, The Ghost Map, and Everything Bad is Good for You, and is the editor of The Innovator's Cookbook. "If you have the right product at the right time at the right price, many times a customer will adapt to what you've done." "The exercise is as valuable as the idea itself," says Cary. After all, Stephenson openly admits he can't even remember what kind of wine he was cradling in his hands when the idea that would remake his business lodged itself in his brain. He puts communing with outsiders on his regular to-do list, talking to a dozen or so each year, choosing those whose notions sound the most plausible. They give it top priority. Who came up with the moniker Signature Seed? Steven Johnson has spent twenty years immersed in creative industries, was active at the dawn of the internet and has a unique perspective that draws on his fluency in fields ranging from neurobiology to new media. A woman from the marketing-analysis department got the green light to spend one day a week cultivating a brand-new business--an herb farm on the company's grounds. But to play a more active and consistent role in generating ideas, employees need to be educated. Steven Johnson has spent twenty years immersed in creative industries, was active at the dawn of the internet and has a unique perspective that draws on his fluency in fields ranging from neurobiology to new media. Or at least that's how they look at first. Within a few years, that project had evolved into a proprietary system that has enabled CIBT to capture more revenues from four big customers. These craft ideas and DIY projects are perfect for the weekend. Here are some myths about where good ideas come from and ways to stimulate idea-generation at your company. So brimming with ideas are some entrepreneurs that they need to make sure they keep track of the inventory that resides in their own brains. Ask him, and Stephenson heaves a nearly audible shrug. But whether you armed them with an Etch A Sketch or subjected them to rural retreats, the overall environment needed to be one of blanket acceptance: All ideas are worthy. 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