It’s not the idea that matters, it’s how you bring it to life.

Lots of us have great ideas, and on their own they can be fun and inspiring, but to make them real is a whole other story.

Whether at home, a workplace, or other group environment, ideas need to be championed to make them a reality. It’s in this stage that we are challenged. Ideas are meaningless, unless acted upon. They need to be developed, shared, grown, tested, improved, turned into something useful, and then shared again. If they are hoarded and hidden, they go nowhere.

Getting others to latch on to our ideas can be tricky because it requires them to change their own thought. They will often put up blockers or excuses. The objections could be based on real concerns, or just a resistance to change. Here’s how to spot the difference…

First, define the problem that the idea will solve. Keep in mind that what may be an obvious issue to us, may not be considered a problem by others. Make sure we’re clear that things could be improved. For instance, if our idea is to go for regular walks with our spouse, we should make sure she or he agrees that a sedentary lifestyle is unhealthy, before we present the walking concept.

Then, work on removing the excuses. If not immediately fixable, ask if that reason gets solved, would there be any other issues?

Remember that ideas can take time to spread. Try using a catchy name for the idea, and leaving out a prototype for easy visualization. For the regular walks example, the prototype could be an image of a healthy-looking couple enjoying a stroll. If it’s an idea for work, maybe use a mockup of a website or leave a 3D model on your desk where people can see it and inquire about it’s benefit.

Don’t worry about people stealing the idea. The work is in making the idea a reality. If someone adds to it and then feels like it’s their own, then you know you’ve succeeded in getting them on board.

Take action: Learn the process of championing an idea in a small way before going for the big one. Start small by implementing a new idea with one or two people. Grow into bigger ideas with larger groups once you’ve figured out which ideas are feasible, and how to overcome people’s resistance.

:: Inspired by Seth Godin’s book, Free Prize Inside: How to Make a Purple Cow.

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