Collision At The Creation of Ideas

November 22, 2008

I was watching either the Daily Show or the Colbert Report the other night. Well, actually both, but I can’t remember which one started this idea. During one of them, the guest made an interesting comment (probably in his book).

It was actually two points about “the energy crisis”. One was a larger comment about bubbles, and that when they burst, they usually leave something significant behind. And the other was related that a bubble of having 100,000 people try out ideas; with 1,000 of them being worth pursuing and 100 of them being brought to a wider audience to try and perhaps 2 having staying power. And that this was a good way to find a solution.

So, this idea sounded good to me on the surface. And I’m not set against it even as two other thoughts come to mind.

One is the “1,10,100” rule of efficiency. The idea is if you only have to save 1 hour or dollar early enough to have exponential benefits later on in the process. It could be said that this is “post production” of an idea, or only relevant when fine tuning an existing implementation. Is it relevant for process of the creation of the solution?

Another is the contrast of not spending enough time organizing and getting crap done (literally or figuratively) vs. spending too much time organizing and getting crap done (same thing).

So in the end, how do you reconcile all these ideas? I feel like true innovation in a group that we call society is somewhere in between the generalities of these ideas.