Maybe you’re hanging out with the wrong ideas. You see, your best ideas aren’t going to be found in a crowd of professionals all dressed for the office. The great idea isn’t the guy wearing the cooler tie. That crowd can’t help you now.
Your best ideas are where you might never think to look. They are right there in the middle of the crowd of your worst ideas. They are with the rude, the preposterous, the angry, the unpolished, and the infantile.
Your best ideas are twin brothers to your worst ideas. So if you want to have more of them, don’t try to have more professional ideas. Don’t even try to have more good ideas.
Try to have more bad ideas.
I see that this may come off as the kind of copy that makes good books on creativity… and little else. But I’m not writing as a guru, professor, or researcher. I’m sharing with you the secret that has led to many of the most successful ideas in a career that has been fueled by ideas. I’ve needed to break through. I’ve needed to win. Every time I showed up at a new agency job and had to prove myself. (For example, when I left the old world J. Walter Thompson to join a group of young, arrogant hotshots at Kirshenbaum & Bond, it was you win or you’re out.) When I started a new agency and had to win to eat, feed my employees and pay the rent. And every new business before and since. Most of all, the thing that makes all of those other things possible – when our ideas go out into the world and help our clients succeed at the expense of their professional but suddenly less successful competition. This has been do or die learning for me. And, mostly, I’ve thrived. It’s what works for me. Of course, you need to find out for yourself what works for you. If this helps, then I’m delighted. It’s going to be a more interesting world.