How do you get your big idea across in the age of information? A quick keyword search can provide anyone with much more data than they could ever hope to use. What’s the secret to getting your idea past all the clutter and into the land of reality?
It’s been well over a decade since Malcolm Gladwell published his bestseller The Tipping Point. In it, he explains that it’s not the quality of the idea itself, but the quality of three key ingredients that cause the idea to tip. If you haven’t read the book, below are the items (hint: they’re people) as well as a few strategies to employ.
The Three Key People Your Idea Needs
Mavens A “maven” is a true expert – someone with the expertise to walk the talk. Not all ideas require someone who has been there before (otherwise, the only innovation we’d experience would be accidental), but for an idea to “tip,” it requires a person with knowledge to match the challenge.
Salesmen Every idea needs a persuader – someone who can sell the idea to the unconvinced. Not everyone has the desire to sell – or can. It’s more than just smooth talking, it’s the ability to charm the resisters and infuse them with irresistible energy around the idea.
Connectors Connectors are only the folks with broad circles and well maintained networks. But they take it a step further – they have a knack for seeing and bringing the right folks to any given table.
What You Must Do on Behalf of Your Idea
Identify which “key person” you may be. You can’t be all three critical people. You may not be any of them. But you likely align closest with one of the three types.
Take inventory of your network. You don’t have to be a connector to have a network. Anyone launching an idea in the 21st century needs a network. Identify the key individuals in your circle who also have the interest and context to play a role.
Enlist the missing ingredients. Put your idea in the hands of the people who can send it into orbit. If you’re concerned about owning the idea, you’ll have to do the majority of the work yourself. If you need to get the credit for it, you’ll be limited to your own abilities and circle of influence.
Generating ideas is hard enough (make no mistake – it’s work). But it’s often invisible. Once you find an idea, it’s time for action. The people you enlist to help will make the difference in whether or not your idea is able to launch.
“Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” – Victor Hugo