"I Think, Therefore I Am": Thoughts, Words, Images and Idea Management

Posted by Sean Carmichael on Jan 7, 2015 2:43:12 PM

 When your team realizes they can express their ideas without being criticized, they're more likely to speak up. 

Descartes came up with one of the most influential philosophical statements in history when he wrote, “I think, therefore I am.”  According to Descartes, everything else could be questioned.  Everything in the material world is fleeting and can be an illusion.  I could be hallucinating right now, thinking that I am sitting in front of my computer and writing a blog post.

However, the one thing that always remains with me—the one thing I can be sure of—is that I am a thinking organism.  Even if I am hallucinating about blog-writing, there’s still a thought in my mind which suggests that I am blog-writing.  And from this thought, I can deduce that I exist.

Images and Ideas

According to Descartes, thoughts can be divided into images and ideas.  There are those who think more visually; their thoughts resemble images we see in the world.  And there are those who think more verbally; their thoughts are closer to ideas.  But there are also ideas which include both, images and words.  And sometimes, ideas are completely abstract; it’s difficult to express them in images or words.

Expressing Ideas and Genius

Everyone has ideas.  However, not everyone has the capacity to express those ideas in words or images.  People who seem particularly brilliant are those who have figured out how to express their ideas well.  We all have grandiose visions in our heads but geniuses are the ones who are good at expressing those visions in some way or the other.  Artists do it through painting while writers do it through writing.  In a business environment, geniuses are great at innovation—creating new products and services which correspond to their visions.

Idea Management

You may or may not have a genius on your team but this doesn’t mean that there is any lack of ideas.  What you need is idea management, which refers to the ability to convert an idea into words and finally into products and services which you can offer your customers.  To do this, you need to encourage all your employees to come up with new ideas and tell you about them.  Or you can hire someone whose job it is to wade through these ideas and find the best ones.

Brainstorming sessions can also be very productive because they are free of censorship.  When people realize that they can actually express their ideas without being criticized, they’re more likely to speak up.  You can also put a reward system into place for the best ideas submitted.  If you do this on a monthly basis, you’re likely to create a culture of innovation.

-Courtney and Grace

Topics: Innovation Insights

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