Expanding Ideas

Expanding Ideas

Ideas are not scarce objects.

Growing up, if you shared a part of your lunch with a friend at school, you got less. Perhaps you gained more of a friendship and forged an alliance in the schoolyard, but you actually got less of the sandwich at lunch. That was a big thing for me growing up. I didn’t want less of my sandwich.

I still don’t like it when people come in and sniper the last bite of my food. Be clear about what you want and then let’s make a deal from the beginning, I don’t like the last bite takeover maneuvers. My wife loves that maneuver.

But I digress from my point here...

Ideas aren’t this way. When you share an idea with someone else, the idea has the power to grow and evolve. We’ve written about this before, but ideas shared in a in a collaborative environment are like an oven. You’re not eating from the same pie, you’re manufacturing more.

Idea + Idea = better ideas, more ideas, momentum and acceleration and ultimately innovation

There’s an interesting TED Talk by Paul Romer called “Why the world needs charter cities.”

The talk discusses the ideas of collaboration regarding new rules so cities can progress, break out of poverty, and eventually shape their nation. It’s thought provoking—you should watch it when you have 20 minutes.

Speaking about the power of ideas, Romer says, "We can share ideas with other people, and when they discover them, they share with us. It's not like scarce objects, where sharing means we each get less. When we share ideas we all get more...If we can keep innovating on our space of rules, and particularly innovate in the sense of coming up with rules for changing rules, so we don't get stuck with bad rules, then we can keep moving progress forward and truly make the world a better place."

This is like the idea of being the coach and not the referee. In society, we all need rules to change and create new rules, so we end up with better rules.

Are you an idea innovator and collaborator? Or are you idea squasher and squanderer?

"When we share ideas, we all get more."

(photo via paul bica)