If you have come up here to read, you are a seeker! Ideas come from the people like you who seek and thrive constantly for truth. Ideas are flowing on the air. The matter is how you see them through your eyes, mind, and heart.
The idea is not a one time or instantaneous incident (outcome) that happens or clicks your mind and you get enlightened. It is process-thought which is originated by connecting dots. Dots are a group of understanding or conclusion drawn from our experiences, exposure, and success and mostly from failures.
Everybody is after getting ideas, a life-changing idea. Everybody believes “Just an idea can change a life”. And where do ideas come from?
Nature is a supreme teacher
Shinkansen Bullet Train of West Japan Railway Company is the fastest train which travels in the speed of 200 miles per hour. It had one problem; it created a big thunder when air pressure changes while emerged from the tunnel disturbing the residents who lived one-quarter mile away. Eiji Nakatsu, chief engineer, and an avid bird watcher searched for the solution in nature, a solution to keep train travel quickly and smoothly in two very different medium while making very less noise. So, he modeled the front end of the train in shape of Kingfisher’s beak.
Similarly, self-cleaning or water repellent fabrics, paints and glasses are inspired from Lotus leaves which have myriad crevices of its microscopically rough leaf surface that traps a maze of air upon which water droplets float, so that the slightest breeze or tilt in the leaf causes balls of water to roll cleanly off, taking attached dirt particles with them.
So, Nature has the answer and your next big idea for sustainability is probably million years old.
Great thinkers are travellers
Recently, I had an opportunity to mentor young engineering students who were participating “Idea pitching competition” for Hult prize in engineering campus. I asked how they came up with the ideas to the team leader who came first in the competition, and presenting an idea of making Gravity ropeway to transport agro produce to market from high hills in Nepal. He said, he saw old women carrying goods on Doko (Nepali Basket) on very steep hills. Then, his mind searched for the solution and came up with the idea of appropriate technology called “Gravity Ropeway”. Wonderful idea!
You might have a solution in your subconscious mind, but to pop up that idea you need some cause and effect phenomenon. So, travelling is the best thing to do to enrich that phenomenon.
Fellowship with other culture people
Our mindset is shaped by what society teaches us since our childhood. It is not necessary that everything that our society teaches us has to be true. In fact, there is always higher chance to be false because that society or generation was also shaped by the elder generation and their belief. And it has happened for thousand years on the planet. The truth is, time is always changing and nothing is absolute at that particular time.
Fellowship with other culture people will help us understand things from different perception and eventually develop empathy. Empathy is a must personal trait that every great thinker possesses. It will actually help us to visualize another side of the story. The idea is also the phenomenon of understanding what other need. Understanding things with multi-dimensional belief will result understanding of the truth.
Leaders are readers.
Life has given us very less time to learn by experience, so you need to read others and learn from their experiences. If you aim to be a successful entrepreneur, you must read biographies of different entrepreneurs, find out how they did that.
Reading allows us to spend time with smart people. We may not have the opportunity to have lunch with Sir Richard Branson, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Barack Obama or Narendra Modi but we can spend time with their reading materials or their biographies and learn their ideas, learn how they manage things and innovate solutions.
Even the fiction books can help understand past and envision future. Reading books will elevate our vision and enable us to see forest while every day we only see few trees
Listening to TEDs
We have come up with thousand years of civilization where so many scholars have born, researched, thought and preached their ideas to the world. The world built a good stock of knowledge resources. So many ideas evolve while listening to others idea. Great thinkers were also great listeners.
Listening to TEDs is another great way to generate great ideas.
Ideas come from Lazy people!
Of course, most of the world’s amazing ideas were invented because someone didn’t feel like doing their then current business. He/ She looked for alternative ways, more easier and efficient ways to do work. And like they say, necessity is the mother of invention. So many ideas were discovered because they became a necessity. Every evolution has a story behind, and the story says that was a necessity at that point in time.
Prakash Acharya is an entrepreneur from Nepal, passionately working to substitute fossil fuels with clean energy technologies. He co-founds Mukti Energy, a solar energy company providing a one-stop solution in the sector. He is also a big believer in change so he advocates and works for creating impact in society. His topics of interest spans from sustainability, zero energy, poverty reduction, sociology to smart city. He graduated from Institute of Engineering, Thapathali Campus on Industrial engineering. He is also a former assistant lecturer in IOE, Thapathali . Prakash is a fellow for Social Entrepreneurship Outreach Program 2014, Social Entrepreneurship Forum Sweden.