Tomorrow's problems look very much like today's, but the solutions will be arrived at by different means and divergent minds. Extensional and linear thinking will continue to create incremental success. Divergent and quantum thinking will create monumentalism, or what we call today, the Big Ideas. My company, BrightHouse, charges clients up to $1 million for one idea. For now, that is fair remuneration, but as the world becomes more competitive and the demand for out-of-the-box thinking becomes the rule rather than the exception, the price will go up.
So now you're thinking, "How can I become a divergent thinker?" Here are my five ideas for creating ideas that create value:
1. Create yourself. Everyone has a pool of untapped creativity. What puts ideas into action, however, is courage. The courage to be your authentic, creative self and express it with glory. The fastest way to enormous net worth is to increase your self-worth.
2. To create great ideas, create many of them. Charlie Chaplin defined genius as the ability to edit.
3. Never give away your ideas. People believe that they get what they pay for. If it's nothing to you, it's nothing to them.
4. The tragedy in our lives is not reaching high and failing, but reaching low and succeeding. Take risks!
5. Use the eraser before the pen. Throw out all rules, including these five. Any path someone shows you has already been taken. The bottom line is that your ideas can impact the bottom line.
But before you become a prophet, you must charge a profit.
I'm reminded of a story about a famous celebrity hairdresser who got a frantic call from a woman needing her hair styled immediately for an important gala that evening. The hairdresser rushed to the woman's home, asked for a ribbon, and proceeded to create his masterpiece using only a brush and the ribbon. Thirty minutes later her hair was done, and she was dazzled. "How much do I owe you?" she asked. "Two thousand dollars," he replied. She was stunned. "That's outrageous," she said. "I'm not going to pay $2,000 for a ribbon." He looked at her coolly, gave the ribbon a quick tug, and watched his masterpiece instantly unravel into a shaggy mop of unruly curls and locks. "That's fine," he said. "The ribbon is free." Today American enterprise is primarily based on the value of ribbons; not just the hairdresser's ribbon, but all things we can touch - tangibles like bricks and mortar and fancy buildings and 30-second spots. That's about to change. Today currency is the idea, but tomorrow ideas will be the currency. The insanely competitive, invent-it-today, reinvent-it-tomorrow world of business can no longer rely solely on capital, raw materials, and technology. Everyone has that stuff. It must now mine and pay for the greatest gem of all - the idea. No one just thinks, any more than they are just living. In fact, thinking is living, and now you can make a living at it, too.
Joey Reiman ([email protected]) is the author of Thinking for a Living: Creating Ideas That Revitalize Your Business, Career & Life. He is the founder/CEO of BrightHouse, a marketing consultancy.
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