TED Conversations

Hunter Bliss

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What does a good idea feel like to you?

While watching the world's smallest 3D printer, I had a question come to mind. Klaus Stadlmann had to think for a week before coming to the idea of the worlds smallest 3D printer. What I want to know is after all of the thoughts he experienced that week, what made him stop on the world's smallest printer? What made him decide the worlds smallest printer was the idea he was going to execute?

And that same question is what I would like to ask TED. When do you feel like you've made the final idea worth executing? Sometimes I have ideas that make me physically say "Whoa," but I don't think that's enough. I think it must be a very deep feeling of rightness.

I look forward to your ideas on ideas. :)

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    Dec 12 2011: Sometimes I need to act upon it before I can feel it's a good idea, once I feel it, adrenaline kicks in, I'm like a volcano just about to erupt, I'm buzzing, my whole being becomes energetic and alert and usually I can't help smiling even if it's ever so slightly...and then usually more ideas start bombarding me...however not always necessarily good ones... :-)
    • Dec 13 2011: Helena
      It is learning that difference between the really good ones, the not so good ones, and the stinky ones that makes all the difference in the world. Ideas can energize me also.
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        Dec 15 2011: Hi Michael,
        Yes, you are right, knowing that difference makes all the difference. I reckon even not so good ideas are worth the try just for the experience, although it may be an annoying one!
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      Dec 15 2011: Yes! I feel very much the same way.
    • Dec 15 2011: Ok, I will give you that. Even the stinky ones might have merit to at least TRY something. Most people end up getting stuck there though and discouraged. If we could help people see that they do oftentimes have really good ideas, but they feel like they are held back somehow. We do it in so many ways, even through our educational system. Maybe we need more classes on ideation.

      Everyone needs the Aha moment of saying this might work!
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        Dec 15 2011: There's the awesome scene in 'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest' , where Jack Nicholson attempts to escape the psychiatric hospital by lifting the shower from the ground and crushing it against the window, and when failing to do so, says - "But I tried, didn't I?...At least I did that..." which has been of inspiration to me in more than one occasion...

        More classes on ideation...sounds like a good idea to me! I agree our education system often times fails to encourage this kind of thinking. It really saddens me when very talented people hold back because of this lack of confidence.

        You said 'Everyone needs the Aha moment of saying this might work!' and I would add that everyone also needs the certainty that it's alright if it doesn't.
        • Dec 16 2011: Yes. I agree. I have failed enough times in my life to know they are sometimes anyway "teachable moments."
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    Dec 15 2011: I good idea to me is that feeling of some burden or obstacle being lifted off of my shoulders. Then the movement forward to the next idea begins.
  • Dec 15 2011: A good idea makes me feel like I want to go out and make it happen. A good idea will always look attractive to me if it leads to action and doing good.

    It always feels like you want to grab a tool to do it or you want to tell it to somebody right away. It's like you want to see the results instantly although most ideas take time to work.

    I'll be thinking: "Trust me. It's gotta work. I know it will!"
  • Dec 12 2011: For me it happens when I not only have a good idea, but realize this idea somehow fits into larger ideas or other things I have been thinking about. I am a process person and a person who likes "big picture stuff." When the idea meets the big picture, something clicks.
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      Dec 15 2011: I also love it when things fit into the big picture. I think it's the reason why I live, to see how everything connects or relates.

      Systems theory stuff, Michael. I've been trying to learn about it lately, but I've been noticing, as I learn more and more about it, that it has been with me for a while. I can't help but feel extreme excitement when seeing how different systems have similar underlying themes and structures. Atoms, Molecules, Cells, human organizations, the Earth, the solar system. Of course different systems aren't *exactly* the same, and it might be coincidence, but they are similar enough, often enough to make a person tingle.

      It's all about metaphors and analogies. Once you have the basic themes of structures and organization between different systems, you can learn anything, understand anything.