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#451: It's Always a Good Idea to Have an Idea Box

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Monday, December 06, 2010
Updated: Monday, December 06, 2010
In my reading and going to conferences and professional development events, I often run across ideas that resonate but don't apply to my consulting practice right now. Later, I wish I could remember where those ideas came from. Any ideas how to track down these ideas?

You can always use Google or other Internet search tools to find resources related to an idea you recall. You can even use an arcane technique, rarely used these days, called "asking a colleague." This does require picking up the phone or getting together to talk with someone, but the technology still works!

However, what about those great ideas you don't recall but might be just what you need? You know a great idea when you see or hear it. We suggest creating in "Idea Box (or Folder, or File)."

Ideas come in many formats - images, scribbled notes, electronic documents, recordings, etc. Converting them to electronic format is hard because it seems like too much effort and organizing them is hard because the filing taxonomy isn't clear when you are collecting random ideas.

Just set up a box, file drawer, or folder to collect hand written notes, pictures, printouts, magazine articles, etc. that strike you as interesting. Make notes on each of what impressed you and how you might use this in the future. If there is a specific time you might use it (e.g., ideas for speeches, when you land a certain client), set up a category (folder) for those items.

Tip: Regularly go through the Idea Box and toss out bad ideas and update notes. Over time, an organizing scheme will become evident. This will keep your innovation pipeline full and help you create new services for clients and your practice.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  information management  intellectual property  knowledge assets  market research 

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Eric McSweeney says...
Posted Tuesday, December 07, 2010
Good tip Mark. Here is another collector mechanism when you are on the go: if you have an iPhone, there is an app called Idea Organizer (free if I recall correctly) that allows you to record ideas using text, photo, or voice note and also to email them - which can then be filed in an Ideas folder. I am sure there would be something similar for Blackberry. Eric McSweeney
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