How to nurture new ideas

Every pioneering development starts with an idea. For all the KPIs, profit margins and protocols in the world, to really make progress we have to have a little time and space to let our imaginations run wild and to nurture new ideas.

Google’s 20%

Google has been an ardent advocate of nurturing creativity. One of the ways they do that is with their ’20% time’. It was designed to give employees one full day per week (20 % of their time) to work on a Google-related passion project of their own choosing or creation. Co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have been quoted as saying:

“This empowers them to be more creative and innovative. Many of our significant advances have happened in this manner.”

Collaboration is key

How we nurture and develop new ideas for the greater good of all is not a question with a single answer. However, no man/woman is an island, and somewhere along the line, collaboration becomes a key ingredient to turning an idea into a reality. That might be in the form of refining an idea, it might be in the form of investment, space, access to new skills or simply some good advice.

In particular, when it comes to turning a creative idea into a workable business venture, support is almost universally necessary, especially when it comes to technology, which often requires a fair amount of upfront investment. Finding the right investors however, that also give individuals space to develop their idea without imposing on it unnecessarily is a difficult balance.

Universities are one of the places in which ideas can be given space to grow, but there are also investors who are excited about the prospect of nurturing creative minds. For example, Britbots is the largest UK robotics venture capital fund. It is currently the only specialist investment vehicle for UK-based robotics, automation, and AI start-ups, supporting individuals whose ideas are already dramatically changing the world.

This can be done through collaboration, investment as well as access to essential educational courses. In the immortal words of screenwriter Tom Schulman in Dead Poets Society:

“No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world”

…it’s just that sometimes they need a little support getting there.