How to transform an idea from concept to reality

April 24, 2017

Have you ever had a great idea, but then nothing happened? I love IDEAS. I love to talk about them, explore and share them. But an idea doesn’t come to life unless you have a transformation plan.

I share a lot of ideas with people. Offering something as just an “idea” or a “thought” has a way of making it seem less intrusive. I’m always wondering if things could be more effective if handled differently or reworked from scratch. Sometimes I annoy people. Sometimes I inspire.

My quick example: an idea to make my life easier…

A few years ago, I had an idea that would help make my DJing a little easier. At each event, I had to plug in many cables and it became stressful ensuring that my checklist was up-to-date and that I had each and every item on the list.

Then I had an idea…what if I could buy a “box” that would have a power adapter built in, and duplicate cables that would stay in the box? Then I wouldn’t have to “remember” to bring each cable. I could simply bring the BOX—one item—and be ready to go. Instead of my checklist including 16 items, it would include 3.

Sketch and plan

I sketched out the idea on paper and researched the cost on Amazon. It was only around $200 to get everything I needed. This was a NO BRAINER. I used to spend 20 minutes at each gig making sure I had the right stuff. With this new system, I’d only have to spend 2 minutes. (And since I have many events that require quick setup, this was totally worth it.)

I purchased everything I needed and BOOM — the idea came to life. The box was/is heavier than I expected, but it WORKS and does what I need it to do.

Think > Capture > Act

Have you ever had an idea like that? Something that you first THOUGHT of, then you CAPTURED the thought and MADE it happen?

Too often, ideas can get lost if they’re not captured properly and then brought to life.

Ideas are how things happen

Ideas are why change happens. Most everything starts with an IDEA and then either dies or comes to life. You have the power to transform an idea into reality.

You have the power to transform an idea into reality.

Here are some thoughts to consider how to transform an IDEA into reality. Use these steps and let me know if you have additional strategies you use to make stuff happen, too.

1. Talk about your idea for a defined period of time.

If your idea only exists in your head, you may run the risk of being too close to it. So, others’ opinions can be helpful to confirm you’re on to something. Consider talking about your idea with other people, either one-on-one, or in a small group. Get others’ feedback on what you’re up to. Their input may help you find your next step, or help you to think about something you haven’t considered.

Have a plan when you’re talking about your ideas. It may be good to focus on just ONE aspect of what you’re trying to do. Be sure to write down actionable steps after your conversations.

Keep the time defined. If you’re always talking about something, you may become known as “all talk” to people. If you can only TALK about your idea, but can’t act on the idea, it may not be worth talking about. (Just something to consider!) A purposeful hour is more effective than 2 weeks of unplanned conversations.

2. Write one sentence about your idea.

I recognize everyone is not a writer—but if you can’t write ANYTHING about your idea, that may be a problem. At a minimum, try to summarize your idea as one, clear sentence. (This is actually hard to do!) Work to refine your writing. You’ll be surprised how simple or crazy something sounds once it’s on a page.

You don’t have to be a “writer,” but if you believe in your idea, you will have to do some kind of WRITING about it sooner or later. You’ll need to text people and possibly create social media posts and email campaigns. What do they say? How does it sound? Start with one sentence and keep tweaking it.

3. Find ways to make your idea visual.

You may not be a great illustrator or designer, but I bet you can sketch SOMETHING. A stick figure? Circles and squares? Arrows? Spend some time making your idea “seeable” so you have something to work with. Use a whiteboard, chalkboard, yellow legal pad, construction paper, Microsoft Paint, PowerPoint, Apple Pages, Loopy. Don’t stop!

4. Find ways to make your idea audible.

What does your idea sound like? Does it sound like jazz? What existing songs sound like your idea? What natural, everyday noises articulate your idea? See if you can capture the “sound” of your idea beyond the sound of human speech.

5. Do deep, focused, distraction-free work.

Making things happen takes hard work. You will have to DO things. Make mistakes. Knock on a few doors. Be careful about confusing busyness with progress. It’s difficult to have progress without doing — but you can do a lot of stuff and make no progress.

6. Spend scheduled time away from your idea.

When you are more relaxed, ideas will come to you. Schedule time to take a bath, go for a run, or whatever it is that gets you “away.”

I heard it said that the reason people have big ideas in the shower is because you are more relaxed and able to think.

8. Create appointments with yourself and stick to them.

Yes, schedule meetings with yourself and show up on time. Inspiration will not show up unless you do.

Question: What ideas have you brought to life? How do you ensure your ideas do not die?

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