Your Ideas Aren’t Worth Much
November 26, 2017
by Alex Anderson

Creativity fosters better leadership, problem solving and promotes teamwork.

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Our short-term memory can’t handle everything that you throw at it. Writing things down keeps you from losing ideas forever.

For some reason, we’ve all come to this conclusion that the ability to come up with ideas is synonymous with creativity.

Creativity is an attractive characteristic for employers, for organizations and for churches as they look to create teams that are forward-thinking and productive. But for some reason, we’ve all come to this conclusion that the ability to come up with ideas is synonymous with creativity.

But that’s not true. Ideas are cheap. Everyone has new ideas. Literally, every day. We have ideas every time that we try to solve a problem. You might have hundreds of ideas every day. And if we’re really honest, there’s most likely hundreds of people who come up with the same “revolutionary” idea that might change the world. But if everyone has ideas, why do we consider the ability to simply ~have~ an idea so novel and needed?

Ideas are only useful if you implement them. Ideas are only useful if they result in a new process, product, business, relationship, or experience. Ideas are only useful if you can take those aspirational what-if moments and put them into action. Ideas are only useful if you can say that you created something that didn’t exist before. And truly creative people find ways to bring their ideas to life.

Most of the time, people are stuck on the first part. “Oh, what if we did this? What if we did that?” The ideas flow freely, but most people are stuck on implementation. There’s often a gap in the process, where people have yet to determine what their next steps are.

To be truly creative, you have to find the gap, where your aspiration is matched by action. Viable ideas should always lead to a to-do list to make sure that they aren’t left by the wayside. It’s not a complicated process:

Have an idea.

This is not hard. We all have ideas every day. This is literally the reason that this article exists, so that we can show readers how to move forward from the initial idea with marching orders. But being conscious of your capacity for ideas is important.

Organize your thoughts.

When you have an idea, it’s incredibly easy for it to then fade away. You probably have hundreds of ideas every week — maybe every day. Write it down and think about what you’re actually trying to accomplish.

Do you need to bring other people to the table to contribute? What a tentative timeline on implementation? Whose approval is necessary? Is there a budget in play? Make sure that you’ve thought things through.

Set next steps.

Nothing is more frustrating than looking back and realizing that your brilliant idea was lost simply because you got “too busy.” And it happens to all of us — in any capacity or role.

By making a list of next steps, you ensure that you do the very next thing that keeps the ball rolling, and by accomplishing that, nothing gets left behind. This is the most important part of the process.

Take risks.

Typically, we normally view risk-taking negatively, and often disregard it as a foolhardy tactic. And while some risks don’t pay off, it’s important to remember that some do. The greatest ideas are great because they challenge the established order of things.

Maybe that’s a process that’s been in place for years. Maybe it’s a starting over now—because in the long run, it’ll be worth it. But remember this: while being a risk taker is important, never push forward without understanding the importance of thoughtful implementation.

Repeat the process.

Take a look back at this list. Where’s your gap? Where does your idea no longer contribute a next step? When do you lose passion? A tip: if you’re losing passion before you’ve even taken the next step, it might be because you don’t have the capabilities needed to pull it off. Look for collaborators with distinct and separate skills, and then reevaluate your next steps.

If you found this article informative and helpful, please share! And don’t forget to keep a lookout for incoming resources for churches and ministries from Yellowbox Creative.

Do you need help:

(1) Launching a church plant?

(2) Designing your church series?

(3) Nurturing a creative community?

At Yellowbox, we empower churches and ministries with the tools, coaching and resources they need to reach real people. With that creative support, church outreach is no longer intrusive — it becomes a catalyst for community.