While preparing for a class, I watched a TED Talk on idea generation, and there were many innovative points shared by the presenter.

Chaos Creates Ideas

At one point during the talk, the speaker noted that the business community prefers protection over connection. For example, when a new idea or technology is created, there is a rush to the patent office.

We must protect what we created!

Of course, it is important to have trademarks, patents, and copyrights. However, this “protect my territory” stance can also be counterproductive. Sometimes we become so focused on the desire to protect the product that we forget the value it can provide to others.

For example, consumers are often forced to choose one product or service over the other, such as with the following examples:

  • Should we purchase an iOS or an Android device? We know hardware and software are particular to each of these devices, which means buyers need to decide early which direction they will go.
  • With a PPO, we will only have access to a certain set of doctors, clinics, hospitals, pharmacies, and so on. None of us like to hear that the medical care we need is “out of network.”
  • If we transfer from one university to another, some or many of the credits may not apply. When I graduated from a community college with an Associate degree and later transferred to a university, I lost about 36 credit hours. To complete my undergraduate degree in 4 years, I attended summer school every year.

As you can see with these examples, the pressure is placed on the consumer to make a quick decision with insufficient information, and oftentimes, this decision is based on peer pressure and/or budget.

Chance Favors the Connected Mind

In the TED Talk, the speaker made a comment that resonated with me … Chance favors the connected mind.

What if the leaders of Apple and Samsung worked together in creative ways to provide an integrated solution for consumers? I understand a merger of the two mega-companies is impossible, but there might be opportunities for them to work together to provide cool solutions for buyers, and this type of agreement will likely extend their dominance in their respective markets.

What if I could go to any doctor or hospital to receive the healthcare that I need by using my current insurance program? What if the doctor could refer me to the top specialist that is right for my condition without worrying about the assigned “network”? This type of approach to helping the patient sounds more connected and patient friendly.

What if all accredited colleges and universities could work together to ensure credit hours were transferrable? I understand there are different types of accreditations, but English I is English I, and the learning outcomes should be similar regardless of the academic institution where it was taught.

Ideas Present Opportunities

I’m certain many people can find weaknesses in the recommendations I’ve made here. However, my challenge to these individuals is to look for what is possible from what has been proposed.

The easiest response to a new idea is to find all the ways it will not work. This is also the traditional and lazy way to run a business.

The challenging aspect of idea generation is having an open mind when opportunities are presented, even if they sound outlandish.

There was a time when all bank transactions required that we physically go to the financial institutions. However, innovative business and technology leaders created mobile services that altered the way we do banking.

In fact, there are some people who have never visited a bank in their lifetime, and yet, are happily using the wide array of financial services.

Connected minds are sure to produce creative ideas to enhance the product for the overall benefit of both the business and the consumer.