I read this article by Richard Branson here. Pretty straightforward: some tips on generating new ideas from one of the most successful entreprenuers. Upon reading the ideas presented in this article, something very clear was being said. The tips are summarised thusly:
- Start conversations on social media. Comments you generate can lead to inspiration.
- Reading and responding to other people’s feedback can lead to considerations you haven’t thought of
- Ways to improve product or service: keep in mind: what are people talking about? What are your friends and family passionate about? What’s currently in the news?
What was being said? These ideas can be described with one word: collaboration. These three tips represent different levels of engagement with people you are collaborating with, and also cover three major different communication styles:
- Social media represents a real give-and-take, conversation-style communication
- Feedback is a series of “push” communications where information is sent from one party to the other
- Listening to the broader discourse in your community, which represents a “pull” sort of communication where information is accessed as required
This is a lesson that is sometimes missed in writing about creativity and innovation: collaborate, and collaborate in every style you can. Don’t just think of collaboration as face-to-face. Don’t just think of it as Facebook. Don’t just think of it as a phone call. It is so, so many things.
I wonder if Branson was intending this message as he was writing these tips or it just happened that way? Either way I found it striking that these tips on generating ideas are all based around collaboration. I find it striking, but not particularly surprising. There is so much in the creative process that benefits from collaboration.
Even in my previous post, I discussed how other people’s mundane knowledge might, in your context, be your creative insight. If you don’t take it from me, take it from one of the world’s leading entrepreneurs.
Feature image courtesy of Yoel Ben-Avraham.