Ideas Give Birth to Other Ideas

“The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas.” – Dr. Linus Pauling

In The Idea Hunter, Bill Fischer and Andy Boynton establish that if you believe that ideas are everywhere, then you’ll start finding them in droves. Fischer and Boynton go on to explain how Jack Welch brought this spirit to General Electric in the 1980’s. Prior to that point, the creation of novel ideas had to take place within the boundaries of an organization. Welch arrived on the scene and set out a new vision that he originally called integrated diversity. The approach came to be known as boundarylessness. Boundarylessness made heroes out of people who recognized and developed a good idea, not just those who came up with one. Leaders were encouraged to share the credit with their teams rather than take full credit themselves.

Many good ideas come from individuals who emulate valuable ideas that are already being used by others or ideas that have been used in the past. People then have to implement those ideas into their own particular setting or circumstance. Bill Fischer and Andy Boynton inform, “Innovation is fueled by diversity. And part of a diverse game plan is to take ideas in one setting and use them in a very different one.” Thomas Edison gives the advice, “Make it a habit to keep on the lookout for novel and interesting ideas that others have used successfully. Your idea needs to be original only in its adaptation to the problem you are working on.” It is still a mystery as to who invented the wheel and when the wheel was invented. According to archaeologists, it was probably invented around 8,000 B.C. in Asia. The oldest wheel known however, was discovered in Mesopotamia and probably dates back to 3,500 B.C.

In Borrowing Brilliance, David Murray establishes how the wheel was an idea that was built upon throughout history. “An idea forms over time the way an organic species forms. An idea is a living thing, a descendant of the thing it is derived from, the way a rock evolved into the wheel, the wheel into a chariot, and the chariot into the automobile. Ideas give birth to one another.” The wheel is probably the most important mechanical invention of all time. Nearly every machine built since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution involves a single, basic principle embodied in one of mankind’s truly significant inventions (the wheel). It’s hard to imagine any mechanized system that would be possible without the wheel or the idea of a symmetrical component moving in a circular motion on an axis. From tiny watch gears to automobiles, jet engines and computer disk drives, the principle is the same.

The original wheel evolved into many brilliant inventions throughout the years. The origins of contemporary Western thought can be traced back to the golden age of ancient Greece when Greek thinkers laid the foundations for modern Western politics, philosophy, science, and law. Their approach was to pursue rational inquiry through adversarial discussion. They decided that the best way to evaluate one set of ideas was by testing it against another set of ideas. In Politics, the result was democracy. Michael Michalko’s research found that one of the paradoxes of creativity is that in order to think originally, we must familiarize ourselves with the ideas of others.

New ideas emerge when someone breaks down his/her thoughts and compares his/her thoughts with the thoughts of others. All ideas are a combination of many forces coming together and/or parts of other peoples’ ideas that are combined with one’s own thoughts.