Have you ever had a great idea for a new product, or maybe a business never thought of before? Have you ever written a novel in your head or come up with a recipe that is completely unique? Do your friends and family brace themselves every time you utter the dreaded words, I've got an idea? Well, my friends, if you're that person, then you're just like me.
For as long as I can remember, I've been an idea person, not completely unlike Lucille Ball's inimitable character, Lucy Ricardo in I Love Lucy. The beloved Lucy was the consummate idea person. In each glorious episode, the moment an idea popped into her head, Lucy's magnificent eyes would bulge, her heart would race, and her life for a short time would be totally consumed with whatever cockamamie scheme she had brewing underneath that flaming red hair of hers. More often than not, the plan backfired, but that was okay. The show ended happily ever after, and the audience couldn't wait for another zany idea coming along to entertain them in the next episode.
Lucy's eyes vividly captured what I feel when an idea pops into my head. It hits like a bolt of lightning; it comes out of nowhere and jolts me with megawatts of excitement. After the Initial shock, the fantasy begins to build as questions and crazy self-conversations begin flooding my mind: Could I really be the first person to think of this? Nah, I tell myself, It couldn't be! But, I continue to myself, if someone HAS thought of this, why don't I know about it? And then comes the real excitement. I say to myself, maybe I really AM the first person to think of it!
Coming up with an idea is one thing but getting other people to validate the idea, ie. finding my perfect Ethel Mertz is far trickier. It becomes increasingly difficult as more and more friends and family realize that this is just another one of my many schemes (please note Ricky Ricardo's facial expressions upon hearing any one of Lucy's ideas).
Despite how wacky they may seem, over the years, I've seen many of my product ideas appear on shelves. I've also had some unique ideas for fundraising events that have been successful, one in particular involving a petting zoo coming to the house as the main programme. The evening was a great success; not only was money raised, but the hostess received a special perk. For a long time, she had been trying to get her neighbour to put up a fence between the houses. The clincher came when the petting zoo goat decided to wander into next door's backyard...
Surprisingly, it seems that Lucy and I are not the only people in the world who are constantly coming up with ideas. In fact, there's a noun to label it: ideation. The people at Gallup.com have released a fascinating video that delves into all the facets of ideation. It turns out, that ideation, if handled wisely, can be very beneficial and even lucrative to a company.
Now that I know about ideation, when that next great idea hits me, I will honour it. I will search for an Ethel Mertz who can look at my idea realistically and give me concrete feedback so as to deem it reasonable or fairy tale.
And you never know. One day, one of my ideas may become reality.