Light Bulb with Lightning

2-minute read

Giving Away Ideas Makes Us Innovate

How do you feel about sharing ideas? This quick read talks about the benefit of sharing ideas and the detriment of keeping them secret.

I’m an eclectic mix of creativity and logic and humor that results in an endless stream of needless ideas, so, sure, you can have one or ten of ’em. Having a lot of ideas is truly a blessing and a curse. I’m not alone – there’s many people willing to share ideas just for the sake of doing so. In fact, there’s a wonderful piece of writing by Paul Arden, author of the book It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be, in which he writes the following sage advice:

Do Not Covet Your Ideas

Give away everything you know, and more will come back to you.

You will remember from school other students preventing you from seeing their answers by placing their arms around their exercise book or exam paper.

It is the same at work, people are secretive with ideas. ‘Don’t tell them that, they’ll take credit for it.’

The problem with hoarding is you end up living off your reserves. Eventually you’ll become stale.

If you give away everything you have, you are let with nothing. This forces you to look, to be aware, to replenish.

Somehow the more you give away the more comes back to you.

Ideas are open knowledge. Don’t claim ownership.

They’re not your ideas anyway, they’re someone else’s. They are out there floating by on the ether.

You just have to put yourself in a frame of mind to pick them up.

What do you think?

Where do you stand on it: do you covet your ideas? Perhaps you’re somewhere in the middle, giving some away while keeping others closer to your chest? Would open source even be the same if everyone kept their ideas to themselves? I’m curious what you think – let me know in the comments!