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In his book Originals : How Non-Conformists Move The World, Adam Grant talks about how everyone could be an original - how they can generate new ideas, how they can voice and champion them and also how one can manage their emotions when they deal with opposition. The book also discusses how a leader/manager can encourage the team or company to be innovative and original. It finally discusses about how as a parent or teacher you can encourage children to be more innovate.

This blog post is about how as an individual, you can generate, recognize, voice and champion new ideas.

Generating and Recognizing New Ideas

  1. Question The Default - Once you realize that the existing rules were set by people who are no smarter than you, you’ll learn to question the existing process. Reminds me of this Steve Jobs interview -
Steve Jobs talking
  1. Constantly Keep Generating More Ideas - This helps you keep your mind active. It also helps to generate a lot of ideas - a fraction of them would inevitably turn good :)

  2. Immerse yourself in a new domain - Learn a new skill, travel the world, meet you people, learn another culture.

  3. Procrastinate Strategically - When you quit your work in the middle of something important, then your mind keeps thinking about it and you could get more innovative ideas then.

  4. Seek more feedback from peers - You’re going to be biased to your idea. Your manager or boss might be critical. However, your peers who are expert in the are are the ones who are most likely to offer positive feedback.

Voicing and Championing Original Ideas

Things to consider when voicing your novel ideas to others -

  1. Balanced Portfolio - If you’re taking a risk in one domain, be extremely cautious in the other domains. Do not go all in in all domains of your life at the same time.

  2. Make Your Ideas More Familiar - Make sure that others are repeatedly exposed to your new idea. Help them understand with an analogy maybe.

  3. Highlight the reasons NOT to support your idea - When talking to others, if you communicate the reasons NOT to support your idea, you get their confidence (that you’re not trying to sell). Remember that this technique works ONLY if your idea is good :)

  4. Tempered Radical - People might be against a complete radical idea but when you break it down into smaller achieve-able components, others might be more receptive.

  5. Speak to a different audience - Talk to different people - people with different background and different mindsets.

Managing Emotions

  1. Motivation - When your commitment falters, look back at your past achievements to motivate you. When you’re committed, the bright prospective future might motivate you.

  2. Don’t Try to calm down - If you’re nervous, it is hard to calm down. Channel your anxiety to convert it to enthusiasm and energy.

  3. Focus on victim and not perpetrator - Avoid all the negative emotions (like anger, frustration etc) by focusing on the victim and not the perpetrator.

  4. Realize you’re not alone - Even having a single ally dramatically increases your will to act.

  5. Voice or Exit - Never persist or neglect during an unfavorable situation - if you can make a change, voice your opinion. Otherwise, exit.

Kaushik Rangadurai

Code. Learn. Explore

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