When ideas have sex

This is the name of a great TED talk from Matt Ridley, that I highly recommend you to watch: video link.
It is about the collaboration between individuals to create bigger things that enable the entire development of the society, things that alone we would probably never be able to create.

I met some young ambitious people lately, all infected with the entrepreneurship virus that were telling me they are trying to come up with an idea (or more) that will evolve into a good business opportunity for today’s needs. The questions is: how should we get to these good business ideas and how should we make them grow into concrete businesses?

I believe that rarely a business idea will come if you just sit somewhere, trying to come up with something good. I believe good business ideas come exactly when you don’t make a forced effort – they come when you read something, when you talk to somebody…in other words, when you have your ears and eyes wide open. So the only thing you need is to be open and to be able to spot opportunities when they are right under your nose.

Go out of your comfort zone and contact/ meet new people, different people, subscribe to some cool RSS – and don’t just listen/ read, but try to build on insights and think out of the box. Spot business opportunities when your friends talk about the difficulty of finding something nowadays, according to their new needs. Or when you discover something in a more developed country that you think it can be a trend in your area soon too.

And then, when you have the great idea, you should not stop being open to others. Maybe you can do it alone, develop it into a great business plan that will work out just well. But there are more chances if you keep talking to people and keep reading because the idea will be able to develop in ways you could not imagine on your own. Bring on board other’s point of view, expertise and creativity. Together we grow (as we use to say in JADE).

And don’t be afraid to share – is very difficult that somebody can steal your initial idea and develop it in the same way you would do. I was asked a few times if I am not afraid to discuss about my business idea with other people I barely know. No, I am not afraid – because I worked a lot on the entire concept, I have already chosen the suppliers and negotiated with them…things that somebody that only hears about the brief idea could not develop it in the same way I would. But in the same time, I had the chance to incorporate some of their ideas coming up from mine.

For example, today I discovered a foreign website that stands for a good purpose and is very simple. I saw immediately the opportunity of building something similar for my country, adapted to the local specifics. I am not able to develop it alone, I need a team of people with different skills. An initial idea is to go to Business Organisation for Students (where I am Alumnus), tell them the idea (since it is something relevant to students) and see if I can make a project team. I will try and I will see. Maybe in some months, this can be spinoff and can turn into a real business.

How do you get new ideas and how do you develop them?