I Begin with an Idea, and Then It Becomes Something Else

It starts with an idea…



It is where the beginning begins.  Where dreams are dreamt, lives are lived, love is loved.  An idea.  Spawned from the æther of our minds, our hearts, our souls.  But what does it mean to have an idea?

What is an idea?

We are living in an age of unprecedented communications.  Of phenomenal transfers of information, data…ideas.  We are barraged with endless marketing.  We consume.  We are consumers.

But we are creators as well.  Developers, planners.  Sometimes we are schemers, politicos.  We have ideas. 

It starts with an idea…

No idea is too big. 

Did you know that before Post-It Notes existed we put a man on the moon?  Was the need to put a man on lunar soil a more grand idea than little sticky pieces of paper?

No idea is wasted. 

The original idea for the sticky substance found on the back of the famous sticky note paper was to use it to adhere to bookmarks to help keep them in place.  That was the original idea…


Whenever I write, I keep open the possibility that my original ideas will become something else.  My hope…Something greater.  Often times that doesn’t turn out to be.  But every once in a while…

I have to let go of the assumption that my ideas are fluid and ready at the time of inception.  What I need to hold onto is the idea itself.  The foundation of a plan that will take me beyond the moment I am in and allow me to experience a new moment.  A new idea.

We are often influenced by others.  Pablo Picasso openly discussed his penchant for using the ideas of others within his own work.  One idea borne by another.

It was often my task to conduct sessions with associates I managed, the goal of which was to determine areas of improvement within the company.  As many know, gathering a group of people together to have an open discussion isn’t always productive.  Or effective.  More times than not I was challenged with having one person attempt to dominate the discussion, while others were content to sit and listen.  Or tune out.  When asked directly about their ideas, I most often heard “I don’t have one” or “His idea was the one I was thinking of.”

So I developed an idea of my own.

In a group setting, I handed out Post-It Notes to all participants and asked them to write down one simple idea.  It was okay if we had already discussed the idea, but originality was encouraged.  Once all ideas were handed back in, the original notes were posted onto a whiteboard.  When that was finished, another blank note was handed out to each individual.

The requirement for the second note was for the participants to write down an idea that was as outrageous as possible.  Anything was acceptable so long as it was G-Rated in nature.  Space ships, teleportation machines or robots were all examples of acceptable and highly encouraged components to an idea.  Once the ideas were written down, they too were placed onto a white board.

The resulting creativity and outrageousness of the second ideas accomplished two goals.  First, it got participants participating.  If people are given a green light to be as ridiculous as possible, they are usually willing to play along.  It is fun and invokes conversation and laughter.

And second, it also got people thinking outside of the proverbial box.  It got people thinking in terms they wouldn’t normally be thinking in.  And though space ships, teleportation machines and robots may not exist to solve the intended problem, they serve as an idea with where to begin.

And one idea generally sparks another.  Especially in a group setting.  More times than not, the group as a whole was able to develop ideas that had real world application and was agreeable across a broad spectrum of personalities and goals.

For creative individuals, the process of writing out outrageous ideas and posting them may also help get the creative juices flowing.  A ridiculous notion may spark the next great wave in society.  Writing it down and posting it up to review and critique may be the first step to discovering that next great idea.

An idea that sticks…


“I begin with an idea, and then it becomes something else.”

Pablo Picasso


10 thoughts on “I Begin with an Idea, and Then It Becomes Something Else”

  1. This is really wonderful my friend. Last year I visit a course for creative writing and did something like this what you wrote cause of the post for the white board. We had so much fun and laughed a lot. For the first time everyone said no idea and then we´ve a lot ideas and we put our ideas together for a story. It was so funny but the curios thing was that the different parts are successful and we had a short funny story.

    Love you work my friend. I´m always glad to read some of you.

    1. You’re welcome Mel!

      I haven’t taken a creative writing course myself since high school. My college work was all visual and graphic design. But I’ve been lucky enough to apply some of the lessons I’ve learned from that visual design, along with some of the lessons I’ve learned elsewhere about “creative problem solving” to my writing. I’m quite pleased with the results…

      I’m THRILLED to see you are too!!!

  2. This reminds me of what the Disney Imagineers refer to as the ‘blue sky phase’ when they are in the beginning stages of developing an attraction, because at that point, they aren’t thinking in terms of limitations of any kind, just what would be really great to be able to do, the sky’s the limit kind of thing. Maybe some of the ideas turn out to not be possible, but might lead them down the path to something similar that is, that they never would have thought of if they had limited themselves to thinking only inside the box.

    1. This is exactly what I’m talking about!! Yay!! 🙂 My post made you think of your comment, which put the entire point into a real world perspective that someone most likely will understand more than my post…ha ha ha!

      Your comment also reminded me of Randy Pausch, author of The Last Lecture. His amazing spirit and outlook was in part fueled by his desire to work with the Disney Imagineers. He offers many, many lessons on “the sky is the limit” that are great reminders.

      These ideas of ours, they’re just webs reaching out to touch each other!

      Leave it to you, my friend, to come up with a GREAT Disney reference…thank you!!

      1. you’re welcome. I’m just about always good for some kind of Disney reference:) At least this time it really did fit well into the context of the discussion…most times I just keep my Disney thoughts to myself lest anyone think I’m a little too obsessed with the Mouse.

        Have a magical day:)

  3. Another great blog! LOVE the sticky note idea. What a wonderful group exercise! Terrific job. Said it once & I’ll say it again, I LOVE how our mind works.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s