How to Create an Idea Factory

How to Create an Idea Factory

By Mitch Ditkoff

By: Mitch Ditkoff

One of the reasons why most BIG IDEAS go nowhere is because the idea originators do not have a team of collaborators on board to help develop and execute their ideas.

In the absence of collaborators, the idea originators either try to do everything themselves (not a good idea) or spend so much time trying to enroll people on the fly that the idea loses momentum and eventually evaporates.

Simply put, it’s easy to conceive. It’s harder to deliver the baby.

But what if each of us who comes up with a potentially game-changing idea already had a team of collaborators in place — people who were poised and ready to respond with enthusiasm,skill, and clarity?

This is not a new idea. There are examples in many other domains: Swat Teams, Firefighters, and Emergency Rooms, just to name a few.

These are people who are there when you need them. They are skilled. They know their roles. They are team players. And they are totallycommitted — even when tired, cranky, and under-appreciated.

YOU need something similar every time you come up with a big idea. OK. Maybe notevery time — but at leastsometimes.

Here are the people I want in my Idea Factory (or, as one friend renamed it, my “Opportunity Incubator”).

1.Brainstorm Buddy to help develop the idea, give feedback, share insights, and keep me on my game.

2. Researcher to gather information, best practices, data, resources, etc.

3. Finance Person to do projections, budgets, and help build the business case.

4. Marketing Maven to help me sell the idea — in house and out there in the “real world.”

5. Writer to create proposals, business cases, and other support materials.

Five people. That’s it. On call. Part time.


1. The Big Idea comes to you.
2. You write a brief and email it to your Fab Five
3. On a conference call, you present the idea — and get feedback.
4. You make specific requests to each member of the team.
5. You stay in close touch with all Idea Factory cohorts — making sure to share info, progress, changes, and successes.

Anything I’ve forgotten? Any members of the team I should add? What would you need from me in order to say YES to playing one of the five roles noted above?

Or… are you ready to start your own idea factory?

PS: These do not have to be 
paid positions. I’m talking about inviting your friends or colleagues who are “in the zone” and would love to be involved in some cool projects with you.

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