Walt Disney had many, many great ideas. Agreed?
Well… you may be in for a surprise. Disney made himself a solid reputation by churning out hugely entertaining classics over the years. They filled the movie theaters, made millions of people happy and put millions of dollars in Walt’s pockets.
The only problem with this scenario is that they weren’t originally Walt’s stories. Walt Disney took the children’s stories written by the Grimm brothers in the 17-1800’s and adapted them to modern audiences.
Ever hear the expression, “there’s nothing new under the Sun?”
If you’re expressly trying to figure out something completely new, it’ll feel forced. Like you are trying to create something from absolutely nothing. But when you take a look at existing ideas, you can try to figure out how to adapt them for people who have less resources like money or time, or who haven’t realized how much the original idea might help them, or any number of other ways that make the new idea better than the original.
Think that’s cheating?
Have you watched Sherlock on BBC, or Elementary on CBS? They were adaptations from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original stories. They weren’t even rewritten to the extent that names were changed much. Even some stories hadn’t been changed beyond recognition – yet they each held audiences spellbound simply because they were set in a different time period.
When we come up with an idea, it’s usually because we have associated two things with each other that weren’t associated before. These form a new idea.
Steve Jobs pointed out that creativity is just connecting things – and that creative people often feel guilty because they just see new connections between existing ideas, where others don’t. He had a point.
One of the only necessities for creating ideas is to do so in a safe environment. Ideas don’t stand up very well to inspection. We care what theirs think. So we don’t like to share our ideas in case others think they are bad ideas, or that we lack intelligence. Unfortunately, such behavior in itself shows a lack of intelligence. But the damage is already done.
Bad example but….. If you start off with an idea that donuts might taste good if they were made to taste like potato chips, but give up on the idea because someone is dismissive of it, then chances are you’ll never associate different ideas with it long enough for one of them to stick.
Next time you need an idea, try associating different ones that exist in a different way – and leave your psychoanalyst at home.