Launching a new ensemble, organization, or business? Read this, Part II. The Inception of a Good Idea.

Now that you’ve taken a little time for self-exploration, the challenge becomes this: What makes an idea a good one? As humans, it’s in our DNA to muse about ways to make the world a better place. Some of us are even driven to take the step towards developing that idea into a new ensemble, organization or business. The trick is to develop your creative ideas with a marketplace in mind.

First, a few rules as you develop your ideas:

  1. Do this work with the knowledge that someone else has probably already thought of your idea. I have had countless meetings with individuals who are convinced that they have an idea nobody has thought of before. This is probably not true. Your job is to consider what makes your unoriginal idea unique to others.  Tip: You’re reading this post right now but I’m one of hundreds, maybe thousands of people who set out to help others bring their ideas to life.  Why did you choose to read this post instead of others? I hope it’s because something in my work resonates with you as a reader. Your job is to do the same thing as you build out your idea.
  2. Think 15 minutes ahead of time, not 15 years. If your idea involves some type of advanced technology or initiative that is not possible in our current social environment, don’t pursue it. Tip: Consider work that is attainable within the next 3-6 months and build from there. 
  3. Embrace creativity. The most exciting part of bringing something new into the world is the energy that comes from launching something new to you. Embrace that creative flow! Tip: When launching a new initiative, remember that flexibility is key.  Start small and celebrate little wins as you grow. 
  4. Your idea will change. Most ideas aren’t successful right off the bat. If you’re flexible and open, you can successfully pivot your failing idea into something successful. Tip: If you notice that your idea isn’t working, you haven’t failed, you simply need to look at world around you and ask what about your idea is missing the mark. We’ll talk in greater detail about pivoting in a later post, the point here is to be open and flexible to pivoting. 

With the above in mind, let’s get to work.

Step Two: Develop your Idea
All great ventures start with fantastic ideas. Start to brainstorm about the following questions.

  • What are the needs in your network that are not being met? Tip: Consider your “network” on a local, regional, national,  and global scale. 
  • Is there something that you encounter in your day-to-day life that you think could be better?
  • What do you find frustrating in your current career path?
  • How will your idea be different from other ideas?

NOTE: Think broadly at first—you can always narrow your focus!

Hitting a road block?  Try these divergent thinking techniques:

  • Start with the central issue (need to be met) and write down whatever thoughts come to mind when you think on that topic.
  • Put a time limit on yourself in an effort to generate fast, impulse-driven ideas. Ideas can both obscure and wild.
  • Use bubbl to help focus your ideas.

NOTE: Let your mind wander–connections can be as far away from the actual central issue as possible. Your goal is to generate as many ideas as possible. Don’t constrain yourself: anything “goes.” It is often the most impossible idea that becomes the most intriguing.

Still stumped? Create a BugList

Identify at least 75 things that bug you. These can be problems related to business, your personal life, social ills, government, the university, your classes, the arts and so on. This should be a brainstormed list. As you brainstorm, do not worry whether there is a possible solution to the problem. Most of the time, the things that bug you bug others.


That’s a good place to stop for today. Tomorrow, we’ll work to develop your idea more deeply.

Who should know that I’m writing this post? If you find it helpful, please forward it to your network.


(Photo Credit: Bartb__pt)


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Nate Zeisler is the Dean for Community Initiatives at the Colburn School in Los Angeles. He envisions a world where students majoring in the arts have a clear path to a sustainable career, where creative minds are empowered and inspired to rule the workforce, and where access to the arts is not just for the privileged few, but for all.

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