Ideas are dime a dozen

What is more important? Execution or great ideas?

“Ideas are dime a dozen.” is a very common phrase.

You can have lots of ideas but if you don’t know how to execute, the ideas become useless. But how can you execute if you don’t have any good ideas?

It’s like the chicken and egg problem.

In the end they both cannot exist without one or the other.

You need to learn to do both, become a great idea machine and become great at executing them.

James Altucher explains in his book “Choose Yourself” how execution is a subset of ideas and why you need to become an idea machine first in order to focus on execution later.

As designers we create loads of ideas on a daily basis and stimulate out idea muscle anyway but there is always room for improvement, right?

Our brain is like a muscle that needs to be exercised in order to get stronger and become more powerful. This is also true when it comes to generating ideas. The more you ideate, the better you become at it.

How to improve your idea muscle

Here is a little exercise you can do every day to become better at ideation:

Set yourself a goal of coming up with 10 different ideas a day! Sounds easier than it is, but trust me, it’s not.

It doesn’t really matter if the idea is good or bad, totally unrealistic or feasible. All that matters is your imagination and awakening the little child in you.

Jot down your ideas in a small notebook or use Google Keep.

Creating ideas in masses will exercise your brain and train your eyes to look for opportunities to improve the world.

If you do that every day, 365 days a year, you will have 3650 ideas at the end of the year!

Here are a few topics that might be helpful to get started:

  • Agriculture
  • Finance / Banking
  • Travel
  • Food / Nutrition
  • Education
  • Safety & Security
  • Health & Fitness
  • Housing & Real Estate
  • Shopping Experience
  • Working Life

Share your ideas for free

Sometimes it’s really hard to come up with ideas that are totally out of context.

To make your life easier try to look at products that you use on a daily basis and think about how to improve them.

Send your ideas to the company that made the product with no expectations.

Because you’re doing it for free and without any expectations, you don’t need to feel bad if they don’t take it.

And who knows, maybe someone will even get back to you.

Make it a habit

Because many of my ideas popup when I am on the road, I personally use Google Keep to keep track of them.

If you cannot come up with 10 ideas every day, try at least to come up with a few on a frequent basis.

Small steps are better than none. Here is a quick tip how to use Google Keep:

How to use google keep for ideation
  1. Choose the same title for each card to make it easier to search for them later: "10 Ideas a day"
  2. Pin the current card on top so you find it easier throughout the day
  3. Change the background color so you can identify them faster when scrolling through all your notes
  4. Install the Google Keep Plugin for chrome so you can jot down ideas more quickly at your computer