July 18, 2018

Where the best ideas come from

The most important things to write about show up across multiple disciplines. Usually in a quiet and understated way, which makes them hard to spot.

I like to go on reasonably long walks and listen to podcasts. It’s quite rare I’ll listen to a marketing podcast. My go-to ones are:

– On Being (Krista Tippett). Loosely about spirituality, but very eclectic.

– Yoga Body (Lucas Rockwell). Which really is about a wide range of topics and rarely about yoga. Perry Marshall has even been on.

– Cracked. Interesting commentary on current events. Although I wish they’d cut back on random film references.

– The Minimalists. I’ve tried and failed to incorporate the principles of minimalism into my life. But I live in hope.

Every now and again an idea will jump out at me in a place where I’m not expecting to see it (like Perry showing up on a Yoga podcast to talk about his evolution book). When that happens, it’s usually a sign the idea matters.

One of the books I’ve kept hold of since my student days is a book called Information for Innovation, by a guy called Stuart Macdonald. Stuart was my most interesting lecturer at university. He had a multi-disciplinary background and a clear disdain for current fads. In lectures he would talk despairingly about the folly of hiring management consultants.

Despite the uninspiring title of his book, Information for Innovation helps to explain why collaboration is more effective than competition in an information world. It explains why freely giving your information leads to real innovation, rather than guarding it with patents. It explains that real innovation comes from informal networks and bar conversations, not formal corporate takeovers.

When you read between the lines, it explains why real innovation comes from small companies rather than big ones.

Keep your eyes and ears open. The ideas that matter the most usually show up quietly in multiple places.

Rob Drummond

Rob Drummond runs the Maze Marketing Podcast and Maze Mastery. Rob specialises in content production, ad creation, storytelling and CRM systems. He has two published books, Magnetic Expertise and Simple Story Selling, affordable on Amazon.

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