- How to find creative sparks in unusual places.
- “Good artists borrow; great artists steal.”
- Why disciplined idea hunting trumps IQ.
Business titans Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Walt Disney shared a common practice: they deliberately and systematically sought out new, creative ideas from diverse sources to propel invention and innovation. Active idea hunting led to their breakthroughs. Arriving at new ideas does not, however, require genius, says Dr. Boynton in this Stanford video. Purposeful observation is a skill that can be mastered.
To become an effective idea hunter, be receptive to creative inspiration from unfamiliar or unusual sources. Warren Buffet, for example, attributed the seed of his “circle of competence” investment philosophy to Ted Williams’ strike zone analysis in The Science of Hitting. Reuse, repurpose, or recombine existing ideas—yours or others’—to innovate. And be quick to test or prototype your ideas so that you “fail early to succeed sooner.”
Andy Boynton is Dean of Boston College’s Carroll School of Management and the coauthor of The Idea Hunter: How to Find the Best Ideas and Make Them Happen. Prior to joining Boston College, he was a professor of strategy at the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) in Lausanne, Switzerland. A graduate of Boston College, Dr. Boynton earned his MBA and PhD at the Kenan-Flagler School of Business, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.