10 ideas to get new ideas

10 ideas to get new ideas

By Rajesh Setty on Mon 13 Feb 2006, 1:05 AM – 4 Comments

All of us want new ideas. In fact, some of us are just waiting for that

one “killer” idea that will take us to newer heights. So, where exactly

can we get some new ideas?

Here is my attempt on this – 10 ideas to get new ideas.

1. From the media

Watch what is being currently discussed in the media. What areas are

getting real attention? These are typically the areas that matter most

to people. While you are reading news or watching TV, the general focus

is not on new opportunities. You can change that and say one day in a

week, your relationship to the media will be different. On that day,

you would observe everything from the viewpoint of identifying a new

opportunity for yourself or for someone in your network.

2. Knowledge arbitrage

If I remember right, the term was coined by one of my heroes, Gary

Hamel in his groundbreaking book Leading the revolution. The concept

is simple – what is successful in one industry may have applicability

in another industry. My friend Steve

created a company called “Bag Borrow or Steal” (renting luxury handbags) based on the concept of Netflix (renting movies.)

Knowledge arbitrage also works geographically – meaning you can

evaluate whether something that is extremely successful in one

geography can be suitably adapted and launched in another geography.

3. Blogs

I wrote recently on the topic – “Why you can’t ignore blogs?” Blogs are

one of the best things to happen on the internet. You get direct access

to some of the brilliant thinkers out there for FREE. With the choice

of right set of blogs and other website resources (like Squidoo) you can turn Internet can become a virtual university for you.

There are enough ideas put forward by these thinkers almost on a daily

basis. Approach the world of blogs as a student rather than a critic

and you will start reaping higher benefits.

4. Harness the power of association

The more you associate things the faster you will get new ideas.

Knowledge arbitrage is one way of associating things. Here is a simple

way to develop your association muscle. List all the people that are

close to you in your network. Also list their current projects and

interests – basically list what matters most to these people. Once you

have this data handy, whenever you meet a new person, see if there is a

match in the interests of the new person and one of your earlier

contacts in your network. If there is a mutual gain possible, connect

these two people without expecting a gain.

The hidden benefit

from the above mentioned approach: The more you do this, the higher the

chances that the power of reciprocation will kick in and more people

will be introduced to you. The more new people in your life, more fresh

perspectives they will bring into your life. In turn, more new ideas

will flow in.

5. Talking to your customers

Your customers are running real businesses. Talking to them about their

businesses will give you a sneak preview of the world in your

customer’s eyes. That’s a fresh perspective right there. The more you

have an open dialogue, the higher the chances

of hitting on something that you might not have thought of on your own.

6. From a coach

Good coaches have a great way of rising one level above your problem.

They look at a problem at a different altitude and hence get a

different perspective. I have personally experienced this a number of

times – I plan to discuss a particular problem with my coach and during

the discussion, I probably get ideas to solve one or more problems that

I had no plans of discussing with him. As a bonus, I get a few ideas

that will open up new opportunities or will prevent a problem that has

not  occurred yet.

7. Listening

If you are dominating a conversation with whatever you know, you

probably will impress the hell out of the other person but you won’t

learn anything new just because of the fact that whatever you talked

will be from whatever you knew. Observe your talk/listen ratio and if

you need to make changes, please do.

Here’s a tip

The general temptation when someone is talking is to figure out what

you are going to tell after the person finishes his sentence (or even

pauses for a second.) Resist that temptation – in fact, why don’t you

start figuring out what new question to ask the person so that you can

make him continue to talk?

8. Right attitude

Yes, that’s right. You need to have an attitude with a combination of

humility, curiosity, inquisitiveness minus arrogance. Having the right

attitude can just act as a catalyst to get new ideas. Flatlining is a

big no-no. Curiosity and inquisitiveness will force you to dig deeper

into issues.

In a nut-shell, who you are will determine what opportunities will open

up for you and your attitude makes up a large part of who you are.

9. Think

Yes, this may sound simplistic but you can just think about new ideas.

Let your imagination run wild. You can make up new stuff in your mind.

Remember, we are not executing on everything that we are thinking about

so don’t put constraints on what you can think.

I want to be clear here. When I say think – I mean think. Not the kind

when you are doing something else and in the side, you are also

“thinking.” Real thinking is hard work and you need to set aside some

quality time to do that.

10. Ask for them

Last but not the least, you can just ask for them. When you meet

someone bright, rather than mindlessly talking about weather, sports

and politics – you can ask them for their thoughts where they think the

new opportunities will be. You will be amazed at what you will discover.

This works for a simple reason. Most bright people have a ton of ideas

but they won’t start dishing them out in random. They also don’t have

the time to execute on all the ideas that come into their mind. If you

have a good relationship with them, most people won’t mind sharing

them. All you need to do is ASK!

Obviously, the above list is not complete but I hope it has given you some food for thought.

Have a fantastic week ahead!


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4 Comments so far, Add Yours

Anonymous  on February 13th, 2006


It calls my attention when you talk about coaching / mentors, it also calls my attention that you have several coaches. How did you find your mentors? Do you pay for their service? Do you just ask someone to be your mentor? Do you have different mentors for different things in life? ex:spiritual, business, technology, writting etc.


Anonymous  on February 13th, 2006

Hi Luis,

Thanks again. You are right. I have several mentors and am fortunate to have them. Almost always, you pay for their services as doing this free will be a huge opportunity cost for these people.

Short answer to how to find them: through referrals.

Please send me an email offline and I can go into further details if you wish.



balu  on August 4th, 2008


when i think some time we are all go back 1980’s and make a new world. because we are all in trouble in politically and environmentally .

jitendra patil  on February 14th, 2010

hi sir,

i m jitendra patil from maharashtra ,i m complited my qualifation in bsc computer but going very slow (6 year)but i want carrier in this fied any course is their possible for this carrier….

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