Like when we are falling in love, when we are seeking to be more creative and generate innovative solutions to vexing business, customer or technological challenges, we often find ourselves attracted to moments that all of a sudden spark our imagination. The lightbulb goes on and we begin to ponder the implications - sometimes rapidly, sometimes methodically. Our heart starts to race toward a destination and usually unknown path that signals excitement and anticipation. The adrenalin from the spark of a good idea starts our creative juices flowing. I call this the "spark at first sight phase," the moment when an idea, thought, or aha! has us lovestruck and our minds, hearts, and even our bodies feel that tingly sensation that say we are on to something - we're stimulated and we crave more.
Many of the creative and innovative people whom I have worked describe this lovestruck period as a mixed blessing. On the one hand, when this "spark moment" occurs, we may lose our appetite, need less sleep, and prefer to spend hours at a time daydreaming about the idea or concept that has us acting head over heals in love. It's exciting and intoxicating. But like any new romance, we also need to be self-aware and not fall so deeply "in-love" with our ideas that we don't consider other possibilities and better solutions. It's important in the process of the aha moment to step back and question and say "hey what's really going on here?" Is this idea something I should stick with or not?" One of the best antidotes and ways to test that is to involve others in your ideation process.
While it is important to nurture the excitement and rush of a new and possibly game changing spark of an idea, it is equally important to exercise reason before you converge and stay forever wedded to your idea. I recommend that you consider these questions before walking down the aisle of investment and commercial launch: Is this spark or idea a top priority for you? Will it be desirable (unique, positive experience, solves a need) to others - your end user? Are you capable of developing it (adequate resources, technology, skill) and will it have a significant level of commercial success (profit, value, impact) when you implement it?
If the relationship between you and the idea is going to be innovative and sustainable, you have to be confident before you "commit." To be innovative it takes courage and it takes time to feel secure in fastening ourselves toward any one idea or another. Think of innovation as a sort of "dating process." You need to have multiple and different experiences where you have the chance to test your idea before you "tie the knot." So before you fall head over heals in love with your idea, be sure to ask, is this the "one?" Happy Valentine's Day.