How to Combine Ideas
Nearly every new idea is a combination of existing ideas, so if you know how to effectively Combine Ideas, solving problems that matter, you are on a path to success. There are many aspects to the Read the World Challenge. Besides reading broadly, participants are encouraged to take detailed notes while reading, extract five big ideas from each book they read, then combine the ideas.
Before delving into combining ideas, people have reasons for reading the books they read. There are three key reasons for reading a book: Entertainment, Information, and to further Knowledge. If you are reading for information, or to further your knowledge on a subject matter, chances are that you are trying to solve some sort of problem. The problem could be a skills gap that you want to bridge, developing an understanding of something, solving a problem in the workplace – it could be any number of things. And to add to that, many problems have associated problems.
How can you innovatively solve the problems that you face? Combine existing ideas!Click To Tweet
Therefore, the big ideas that you extract from the books you read, could be only partial solutions to the problem that you are trying to solve. So, combining ideas, is a way to take you closer to finding an innovative solution to the problems you face. To assist readers in combining ideas, I created the Monthly Reading Matrix, which is a combination of the SWOT Matrix and the BCG Model. The Monthly Reading Matrix uses tools in ways they were never intended, creating new functionalities, and that is innovation. Some of the participants in the Read the World Facebook Group have indicated that process of combining ideas is eye opening.
Related: Read it, Learn it, Analyze it, Apply it: This post includes the Monthly Reading Matrix for download.
How to Spot a Great Idea – What to Look For
Copy, Transform, Combine Technique to Combine Ideas
I am pleased with the Monthly Reading Matrix and the way it works, but life is about continuous improvement. So I decided to find ways in which I could improve the Reading Matrix to better combine ideas. On 99U’s website, they write, “Copy, Transform, and Combine: Where Ideas Come From,” which is based on Kirby Ferguson’s TED Talk. For centuries, we have been standing on the shoulders of giants, building on their work. That’s how progress happens. New ideas are a combination of existing ones.
Kirby Ferguson: Embrace the remix
To use the Copy, Transform and Combine model, when participating in the Read the World Challenge, here’s how to go about it. When reviewing your notes that you took while reading a book, extract your five big ideas. When you have your five ideas, think of ways to create variations of those ideas. Additionally, combine ideas from the different books you read to cross-pollinate the ideas – this allows you to further the idea, creating something new. What might you come up with? Today, content/information creation is one of the keys to success, and you can distinguish yourself by combining the ideas from the books you read.
In the 30-Day Blogging Challenge, Sarah Arrow talks about Riffing, which is building on the work of others, while giving them credit. Or using someone’s work as inspiration, giving them credit for the original work.
Related: Blog Content Strategy: Riff Great Content
Search and Combine Ideas
In the article, “Search and Combine Ideas” the interviewer, Vern Burkhardt, and interviewee, David Kord Murray, talk about the increased pace of chance that is allowing us access to a great number of ideas that we can combine to generate hybrid ideas. Additionally, if participants in the read the world challenge consistently extract the big ideas from the books they read, they are creating a large pool of ideas to combine. Imagine how your mind would grow and expand after 52 weeks in the Read the World Challenge.
According to David Kord Murray, author of Borrowing Brilliance:
“When I became the Head of Innovation at Intuit I started to study the creative process. I studied the ideas of others – the “big ideas” – like Newton, Einstein, Lucas, Jobs, Darwin, and others. And the pattern was there. You could see how they defined problems, borrowed ideas, and then made new combinations. Once I realized it, it was liberating, and creativity became a “search.””
To effectively combine ideas, you have to define the problem properly, this could be an idea for a post. I hope you have some ideas on how to update the Monthly Reading Matrix to help you combine the ideas you encounter in the books you read.
Please take the conversation to my Facebook page. You can still join the Read the World Challenge – it’s a new kind of reading challenge.
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