The spaces I help to create are never short of imaginative, innovative leaders who are full of ideas. These individuals are what I call “idea lovers.” But within this generative group of idea lovers, is a smaller subset of idea makers. Charles Lee, CEO of IDEATION shares, “…not all idea lovers make ideas come to life. Unlike idea lovers, idea makers are not satisfied with just having a great idea. They are committed to seeing their concepts actualized in the real world.”
As someone invested in my community, I would add that idea makers don’t execute their ideas for their idea sake. Instead, idea makers move their ideas from their imaginations into reality to create a solution for the greater good.
As a team member of DO GOOD X, I’ve journeyed alongside faith-rooted entrepreneurs who want to do good in the world. These entrepreneurs—idea lovers and makers—birth many ideas. But what is needed to help idea lovers turn an idea into a good idea? (We all know that all ideas aren’t necessarily good ideas.) And, how do we create a space that empowers and prepares these idea lovers to be idea makers for social good?
Here are three playful actions I’ve noticed that support these entrepreneurs in becoming idea makers for good.
TOGETHER, idea makers dance, experiment and challenge.
Remember grade school dances? Peers stood against the wall waiting for the perfect opportunity to share their moves. Or they were scared out of their minds to move. The fun always began when a courageous person decided to get on the dance floor. And it became a party when others joined.
Idea makers thrive when they have a space to DANCE with other idea people. Last year, I experienced a group of 10 social entrepreneurs sourcing financial support, partnerships, product development, potential mentors and prospective investors just among themselves. This is the power of what can happen when you don’t hold the wall and you’re courageous enough to dance with others.
I’ve seen committed people test out their idea of a dance routine, wait for the crowd to respond and refine their moves based on reactions. Because the only way to be confident that an idea is a viable solution is to EXPERIMENT and prove it is a possible solution. Prototype, experiment and refine. Having the ability to experiment and fail soft in the midst of supportive, but honest peers is invaluable. Remember, most entrepreneurs succeed because of wisdom that surfaces through failure.
Varying levels of experienced dancers challenge themselves and others to do better. Idea makers need spaces to be challenged and to CHALLENGE one another. Is your idea ethical? Does your idea actually solve a problem? Are you “the one” to actually bring a particular idea to life? It’s through these types of questions from others that idea makers learn from alternative perspectives, innovation occurs and they think deeply about their commitment to their idea.
I prefaced this list with the word “together.” And that might be one of the most important elements to remember. An African Proverb says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
So, dance and play with your ideas in community. Challenge yourself and other idea makers. It’s within conversation, collaboration and community with others that you and your idea will thrive…for the long run.