We’ve. Got. Ideas.

Reminder: Don’t Get Caught in a Vacuum

Reminder: Don’t Get Caught in a Vacuum
Published August 14, 2009 by Jenn Soloway Comments: 1

I’ll admit this up front: this is not the blog post I had intended to publish this afternoon. In fact, the post I had been writing and researching for was on a completely different topic, and one I had been giddy about for 2 days.

That is, until some candid last-minute research proved what I had stumbled upon this week was really 5 months old.

Woah. Talk about a harsh dose of reality.

Harsh, but not nearly as devastating as if I had plundered along, blissfully unaware of the similar discussions that had already taken place, back when my “news” was actual news. I would have excitedly posted my new perspectives, only to be disappointed when I later found others had already shared similar perspectives on the same topic.

I’m not going to lie, I’m glad my original post turned out to be a wash.

I Was Living in a Vacuum

Plain and simple, it’s easy to assume you are the first to have a particular idea, or be the first to observe a certain angle. Consider the responsibilities, tasks, projects, assignments—just plain stuff—we all deal with on a day to day basis. When we get 5 minutes to observe the ideas and experiences of others outside us, it is very easy to misconstrue the timing of when you happen upon a tidbit, and when that tidbit was truly debuted.

When it comes to ideas, if we limit our realm of experience to only what we deal with personally, we are doomed to spin our collective wheels in the pursuit of something truly new. This is the lesson we pay thousands of dollars to University to come away with. We study former artists and designers in design school, corporations in business school, and chefs in culinary school to not be quizzed upon how well we memorized their work. We study these past and present influences to understand that there is value in seeking out how others have solved a problem in order to arrive at a completely new solution for ourselves.

Even if two people share a similar perspective that they each arrived at independently, it is when those two perspectives meet that the opportunity for growth happens.

In the case of my blog post, it brought me back to this small but critical lesson.

What about you? Share your experiences in the comments.


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One Response to “Reminder: Don’t Get Caught in a Vacuum”

  1. Bill Cokas said:

    In our business, we live in fear of running out of original ideas. I would hate to think that fear now extends to having an original reaction. I agree there’s much to be gained from joining–or furthering–an existing discussion, if it regards the exact same topic you’re invested in. But there’s nothing wrong with starting a new one, either, if you’ve got a different spin. I wouldn’t spend too much time “researching your opinion.” Your opinion is yours, and it’s valid no matter when you express it. Every day a different bunch of people are online–how many people overlap from your audience into that other one? And sometimes the pot could stand a good re-stirring. My vote? Don’t hold back. After all, there are those who think there is nothing new under the sun.