The Big Ideas Race is Not a Solitary Game


The bikers are all sleek and state of the art, the racers biohacked, monitored and considered the most performance elites. The competitors are trained for endurance, monitored, connected, measured, analyzed to microseconds. Yet, the winner of the race pictured won by sheer genius in the last seconds of the race. Outsmarting, outthinking and making this change the game last minute decision to win this race.

Did AI, analytics or big data help him at this exact moment to win? No! At least not in this race. Changing the game so many times means you go against conventional wisdom, against the odds, maybe even against what the coach is whispering in your ear. Your gut intuition makes a serious call to your brain to say, WAIT, let’s try something so different it just might work.

The risks of this choice may not occur to you till post-race. If you win, what went through your head was nothing but I could win. If you lose what goes through your head maybe a script like this “if I’m going to lose anyway why not try something completely different”.

In business, these days, it feels like we are so deep into AI, data, analytics, decision making, and productivity that we in some cases our brains are clogged with just simply too many reasons why NOT to do something new and different. What lingers in many cases is a gut feeling and instinct that goes ignored.

Innovation needs all of the above; ideas come from resting periods, quiet time, community time, talking and laughing. Data and intelligence can support us in what we think is a cool edgy game-changing idea but what if the idea is so new there is no data to support you!! Our team is currently working on a new innovative product right now that has no historical findings, no future trends and maybe even no support because it’s so new. But it’s a game changer in a big way. So how do you validate these types of ideas?

These are two different scenarios:

Scenario 1: We’re in the heat of competition and a split-second decision to do something unique could entirely change the outcome from negative to positive. In this scenario, we must be grounded in our own decision making (whether by team or individual). If we make the decision in the split second we need to a. feel secure that others have our back b. know we could fail and risk it all. Risks that are calculated risks up front prepare us well for being able to make quick decisions. Example; the biker in the image is confident he’ll pick up some speed, he knows he could fall, he knows he could still come in second or third, he knows the team trusts his instincts and support his decision win or lose. Our biker appears to have so much confidence in making the decision to project his body straight out to pick up speed we feel good about his decision as viewers and root for his win. Ask yourself, at work, do you have the team support, does your team have all the risks and challenges anticipated that may come from your competition? Preparation +data+gut instincts in the moment = possible game-changing ideas.

Scenario 2: Is, however, is quite different. The invention is so new no one has heard of anything like it, there is no history, no future trends, no past data or information. In this case, gut instincs+dire need+purpose driven value to change the world = could, in fact, change the world. We have data on rocket launches so even though trekking to mars is exceptional alone and doing so as a private entity even more exceptional we have data on space launch successes and failures to build on. However, technologies or ideas to feed people in underdeveloped countries where land is bone dry and grows nothing 1 to 2 ingredients to give all the needed nutrients possible and using no water and no electricity to make it in the moment of need …well you get my point. There is little data, a little history, no one has developed solutions like this yet although I did work with an international 4-person team and we invented a 3 ingredients hot food source, using very little water and a self-powered dispenser). Our world (and humanity) need brave souls working on “moonshot ideas”! When tackling this type of world-changing, game-changing scenario knowing and anticipating that ideas might get shot down before the idea can breathe is important. Do you stop? NO! But get a great team of people around you to be on your side!

Brave souls, we need you to join us! We are big thinkers, we love solving complex challenges, we love to innovate beyond the wildest dreams. Our ideas need teams of believers and testers. These ideas need funding to proof concepts and get these ideas to the next test stage and breathe life into them. Our world needs big ideas transformed into reality but at the pace which things are moving it may make it difficult for us to free flow big concepts.

Slow life down, give your mind (give your team) breaks from moving so fast. Waste some time! My latest read, In Praise of Wasting Time, the author Alan Lightman, offers great insights (and historic proof points) of the value of shutting off and giving ourselves downtime. I, for one, am working on turning off and getting out in nature more. Wasting more time does not feel like such as the ideas flow. We’re allowing technology to develop itself, read and evaluate us as individuals like books and not considering all the implications of a self-developing, autonomous world that potentially shoots downs big ideas with data before we even start.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and stories about your on experiences and big ideas.

Thanks for reading!

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