Where Do You Find The Very, Very Best Idea? – Insight from Steve Jobs, from 2004

The first steps of a creative act are like groping in the dark:  random and chaotic, feverish and fearful, a lot of busy-ness with no apparent or definable end in sight.  There is nothing yet to research.  For me, these moments are not pretty.  I look like a desperate woman, tortured by the simple message thumping away in my head:  “You need an idea.” 
You need a tangible idea to get you going.  The idea, however miniscule, is what turns the verb into a noun – paint into a painting, sculpt into sculpture, write into writing, dance into a dance.
Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit


Steve Jobs is still Chairman, and may still hold more sway at Apple than any of us know.  (I hope so!)

But the compilations of Jobs’ stories and quotes are everywhere, including on this blog (just scroll through yesterday’s posts).  I found this terrific article at the Poynter site, How Steve Jobs has changed (but not saved) journalism by Jeff Sonderman.  The entire article is worth reading, but here is a key quote, from a 2004 Business Week article:

“Innovation comes from people meeting up in the hallways or calling each other at 10:30 at night with a new idea, or because they realized something that shoots holes in how we’ve been thinking about a problem. It’s ad hoc meetings of six people called by someone who thinks he has figured out the coolest new thing ever and who wants to know what other people think of his idea.
And it comes from saying no to 1,000 things to make sure we don’t get on the wrong track or try to do too much. We’re always thinking about new markets we could enter, but it’s only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.”

So, where does that very best new idea come from? From an environment that is a swirling hotbed of conversations, ongoing, coming up with lots of ideas, and saying no to all of the good ones until you are left with only the very, very best ONE.

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