How to Find the Best Ideas and Make Them Happen
By Andy Boynton and Bill Fischer, with William Bole
The Idea Hunter challenges many assumptions about how great ideas are discovered and who discovers them. Drawing on a plethora of academic research as well as interviews, the authors show that outstanding business ideas do not spring from innate creativity or necessarily from the minds of brilliant people. Rather, breakaway ideas come to those who are in the habit of looking for such ideas—all around them, all the time.
These are the Idea Hunters. Such people do not buy into the starry-eyed notion that the only great idea is a pristinely original one. They know better. They understand that high-value ideas are already out there, waiting to be spotted and then shaped into an innovation.
The authors present an eclectic band of Idea Hunters, ranging from Thomas Edison, Mary Kay Ash, and Walt Disney, to Warren Buffett and Apple’s Phil Schiller, as well as others including the leaders of Twitter, Pixar Animation Studios, and the Boston Beer Company. These people have certain characteristics embodied in the four I-D-E-A principles (Interested, Diverse, Exercised, Agile). They also know their gig—their personal mission and why it matters. They don’t let the organization, job, industry, or profession define their Idea Hunt. And they recognize how the world around them connects with their plans and projects.
Step by step, The Idea Hunter unveils a strategy for unearthing new ideas in any industry or organization.
Published by Jossey Bass/Wiley (2011)
Reviews and Praise
“Most of The Idea Hunter is a step-by-step prescription for turning avid interest in the world beyond one’s cubicle into blockbuster products and services.”
Anne Fisher, Fortune magazine
“Humans make progress by discovering new ideas, but also, to a very important extent, by repurposing the ones that already exist. In The Idea Hunter, the authors show how each of us can get better at this critical second skill, identifying and reapplying existing ideas.”
Paul Romer, Senior Fellow, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research
“The Idea Hunter is unique. It’s about curiosity, agility and perpetually ‘hunting’ for better ideas. It is a must read for anyone who wants to compete and collaborate more effectively each and every day.”
Greg Brown, CEO, Motorola Solutions
“The Idea Hunter upends a number of persistent myths about innovation and what it takes to be an ‘idea person.’ It shows that what’s required is not spectacular creativity or remarkable IQ, but curiosity. Not innate genius, but a genuine desire to engage in a daily search for ideas. The Idea Hunter will help advance your projects, career, and organization.”
Jay Hooley, President & CEO, State Street Corporation
“ ‘Hunting’ is an apt metaphor. Ideas exist everywhere in the ‘wild.’ The trick is knowing where to look for them and how to capture them. The Idea Hunter tells us how.”
Ron Sargent, Chairman & CEO, Staples, Inc.
“In my company, I ask all of our team members to be business owners. Doing things in a better way, at lower costs, and in a more member-friendly way requires ideas from everyone. Those ideas come from great Idea Hunters throughout the company, regardless of rank and title. The Idea Hunter is not only an enjoyable read, but it offers a practical method so that anyone or any firm can learn the secrets of harnessing the power of ideas to drive success.”
Laura J. Sen, President & CEO, BJ’s Wholesale Club
“Thrilling, fun, and inspiring, The Idea Hunter tells stories and discerns patterns of behavior and habits shared by the great innovators of the past century. It finds similarities among the greats ranging from Warren Buffett to Steve Jobs, and even going back earlier in the century to Walt Disney and Thomas Edison. Through brief stories and simple self-reflection exercises, this book distills the quirky essence of leading imagination in a way we can consume it, and hopefully aspire to become one with it.”
Aaron C. Sylvan, Serial Entrepreneur and Technologist
(One Technology, TrustWorks, LemonadeHeroes, Sylvan Social Technology)