If you’re always looking for ways to find better ideas, The Idea Hunter: How to Find the Best Ideas and Make Them Happen, by Andy Boynton and Bill Fischer is a must read! I’m constantly on the lookout for resources that will help me jettison the status quo. The Idea Hunter was just the ticket.
If Boynton name is familiar, you might be familiar with his Managerial DeepDive workshop. Developed as a result of idea hunting at IDEO (the world’s premier design firm), these workshops are now being used in creating innovation and growth strategies, visioning the future, redesigning processes or organizations, managing and leading change.
Packed with practices and highly implementable concepts (some that were immediately adopted), I ended up with a pretty marked up book.
The Idea Hunter jumps right in with a very helpful section on finding your gig. Whether you’ve already been in a field for years or you’re just looking for what it is that you were made to do…this is very good stuff. Taking their lead from Tom Peter’s set of four questions designed to help readers discern their gig (i.e., What do I want to be?, What do I want to stand for?, Does my work matter?, and Am I making a difference?), Boynton and Fischer add in several additional question sets. Did I say this already? This is great stuff!
I particularly loved the way the authors boiled down the process to four key steps:
- INTERESTED: Be Interested, Not Just Interesting. Makes a lot of sense. As a collector of great quotes and anecdotes, I loved the Einstein line: “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” You can definitely see where this section is going, but the ideas here will have impact.
- DIVERSE: Diversifying the Hunt. It’s about what Jack Welch called “boundarylessness.” It’s about what IDEO refers to as being a “T” thinker. It’s about the conviction that “someone, somewhere, has a better idea.” There are a bunch of great ideas in this chapter that will help you begin to think (and hunt) more broadly.
- EXERCISED: Mastering the Habits of the Hunt. This chapter is all about putting together the daily habits that will allow you to capture the new ideas you trip across.
- AGILE: Idea Flow is Critical: There is a goldmine here! Simple ways to generate idea flow. Along with nuggets from Steve Jobs and Twyla Tharp, I found a technique from New York Times reporter Olivia Judson right in line with the way my brain works. Great stuff!
For me, the very best components of The Idea Hunter were the Ideawork sections that immediately followed each of their four concepts. I came away with a great workshop exercise, a tremendous insight into how Warren Buffett finds superior value, a Twyla Tharp method of assembling an idea portfolio, and a great key to determining if it’s just a great idea or one that really fits the definition of gig-friendliness.
I like this book! The Idea Hunter (affiliate link) is a book you should pick up if you’re interested in finding the best ideas, the ones that will take you to the next level.