You tell yourself that all you need to make it as an entrepreneur is one good idea. But alas, all you seem to have is bad ones. And that is really starting to get you down.
Sound familiar? If your brain has thus far seemed to yield up nothing but crazy notions, unworkable plans, and wild fantasies, you could be forgiven for getting a little frustrated and batting away all these bad ideas like annoying flies spoiling a picnic. But according to a fascinating new post by Blake Thorne on the iDoneThis blog, this is just the wrong attitude to take to your many half-baked notions.
Instead of being ashamed of your bad ideas, you should start celebrating them, he urges.
The value of lots of bad ideas
Why? The best predictor of eventual good ideas is lots and lots of bad ones. And those who are best positioned to come up with breakthrough innovations are those who are willing to indulge in lots and lots of failed attempts and wild goose chases.
"If you want to have good ideas. You're going to need a lot of ideas. Even bad ones. Especially bad ones," Thorne writes, citing Frans Johansson's book The Medici Effect: Breakthrough Insights at the Intersection of Ideas, Concepts, and Cultures. "The strongest correlation for quality of ideas is, in fact, quantity of ideas," Johansson writes and the best teams are those that are willing to generate long lists of possibilities knowing that 99 percent will never be used. "Those bad ideas aren't wasted time," Thorne insists. "They serve the greater purpose."
But you don't need to take Johansson's word for it when it comes to the value of bad ideas. There is scientific backing for the notion that having lots of bad ideas is more likely to lead to success than failure.
"Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon and the University of Texas-Austin found that a larger variance in the quality of ideas leads to more positive progress generating high-quality ideas. In other words, the more your ideas pool includes a mixed bag of ideas--good, bad and mediocre--the more likely you are to stumble upon a great idea," Thorne reports.
The takeaway for would-be investors, innovators, and entrepreneurs couldn't be clearer: stop focusing maniacally on coming up with brilliant ideas (and beating yourself up when you don't) and work on simply coming up with lots of (mostly pretty bad) ideas instead. "If you strain over every bad-seeming idea and try only for ones that seem world class from the beginning, you're hurting your progress," Thorne concludes.
How can you generate a greater volume of ideas? Thorne offers tips on coming up with more ideas in the post, or you can learn about a simple lifestyle change that will increase your creativity, read up on offbeat creativity boosters, or even get creativity advice from Pablo Picasso here on Inc.com.
How many bad ideas have you had today?