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3 Tips for Executing Ideas

Behance CEO Scott Belsky recently addressed the 99% Conference, offering tips on bridging the gap between inspiration and execution.
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Great ideas are, well, great, but sadly even the best inspiration doesn't guarantee something remarkable is actually produced.

Between that exhilarating "a-ha" moment when an idea hits and reaping the benefits of your creativity there's a huge gulf of hard work to cross. How can you make it to the other side with your sanity and your winning idea intact? Behance CEO Scott Belsky has a few suggestions.

Belsky recently addressed the 99% Conference in New York, offering a master class on executing your creative ideas, which offered advice to prevent your best inspirations from withering away before being realized drawn from experience and his new book Making Ideas Happen. Luckily for those unable to attend, Aimee Groth has rounded up the headline tips. They include:

Understand the life cycle of ideas. When a new idea strikes, energy and excitement are extremely high. But when the hard work really begins, excitement drops. This is called the "Project Plateau."

"It's the doldrums of project management," Belsky says. "We hate that place so we try to escape it. There are more half-written novels than there are novels."  There's the gravitational force of operations—which pulls you away from what's important to what's urgent. The key is making time for both.

 Workflow needs to be forward-thinking, not just reactionary. If you simply respond to what's urgent, that's a reactionary way of thinking and working. It may get you through the day, but it doesn't lay the groundwork for long-term innovation…. since there's often an endless stream of reactionary workflow, there's a lost "forced space for deep thinking." Good leaders will create space for this by "creating windows of non-stimulation." During this time, leaders will read reports, data, etc.—but not react to anything; just process it.

Accountability is key, and this begins with leadership. Effective teams hold each member accountable for their contributions. For this to happen, there must be a clear leader who knows each person's strengths.

Interested in more of Belsky's ideas? Groth offers many more of his tips and the 99% has published tons of takeaways from conference speakers, including this thought-provoking bit of advice from Belsky on dealing with creatives' personal demons:  "Especially in the creative world, our demons are part of what distinguishes us. But we must be sure to face our demons before they face us. Get feedback from anyone who will share it, and candid self-appraisals. Do the personal work."

If you'd like to skip the reading, Belsky's website also has a selection of videos of his previous speaking engagements. Or if on the other hand, the more words the better, there's always the book.    

What most often derails you when it comes to executing on a promising new idea?

IMAGE: Ed Schipul/Flickr
Last updated: May 22, 2012

JESSICA STILLMAN | Columnist

Jessica Stillman is a freelance writer based in London with interests in unconventional career paths, generational differences, and the future of work. She has blogged for CBS MoneyWatch, GigaOM, and Brazen Careerist.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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