About being sensible

Missives from Hothouse Design

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Killing butterflies is necessary to uncover the best ideas

David White – Tuesday, February 06, 2018   

 

Coming up with ideas is the easiest thing on earth. Putting them down is the hardest.
Rod Serling

You said it Rod.

In a recent conversation about the distracting allure of ideas my writer friend shared with me something that Ann Patchett had written about ideas being butterflies. Ann described the process of transforming a three dimensional idea into something that can exist flat on a page as killing the butterfly in order for it to live in a different form.

Lovely. A great way to describe the transformation necessary to turn ideas into something real. Anyone who has put the work in to making their idea into a reality will appreciate that there is indeed a transformative process at work.

Understanding that our ideas are a fantasy and have to be transformed in order to become real certainly takes the gloss off some of those idea butterflies. This is the understanding that is missing from all those “ideas people” who run around the place, inevitably feeling under appreciated but still full of good ideas!

Ideas are wonderful, exciting and very enticing. Ann Patchett also says that what begins as something like a dream will in fact stay a dream forever unless you have the tools and the discipline to bring it out.

Resisting the allure of all those good ideas takes discipline. And from that discipline you will be able to get sufficient distance to know which ideas should be developed and which are better kept as a delightful fantasy.

The next time you have a great idea, write it down somewhere safe and come back to it later when the gloss has worn off.

Further Reading

For more about managing ideas have a look at these posts from our blog:
- Think like a designer and stop solving problems that don't exist
- How to be both productive and creative while avoiding mental indigestion

This post is by Deirdre Wilson, Director of Hothouse Design – Australia's most sensible information design company.
Deirdre applies her background in industrial design and design management to the complex and wondrous projects undertaken by Hothouse Design.


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