One of the major questions my clients ask me is, “How do you know if your idea is any good?”
Is it worth putting in the time, energy and thought processes or should I move on to something else? The uncertainty of putting a lot effort into creating something new comes with a great deal of anxiety.
It’s not surprising, then, that people may say they want to create something new but scientific studies say something else.
A famous study from the University of Pennsylvania showed that we often dismiss new ideas because our uncertainty makes us think, and thinking too hard makes us feel uncomfortable.
“People often reject creative ideas even when espousing creativity as a desired goal,” the researchers wrote.
People are subtly prejudiced against novelty, even when they claim to be open to new ways of thinking.
For work to be truly creative, it has to depart from the status quo at some point. That departure can make us uncomfortable. Despite our oft-stated desire for more creativity, we also have a strong desire for certainty and structure.
When that certainty is challenged, a bias against creativity develops. Given this bias, how do we buffer our ideas to give them the best chance of success?
Believe passionately in the idea
Be willing to pour your faith, time and energy into nurturing a new idea and withstand the rejection it may face. Think about JK Rowling sitting on her millions. She had been rejected more than 12 times for Harry Potter.
Know your target audience and what’s important to them
Sometimes this calls for focus groups. For example, getting together a group of sci-fi enthusiasts to hear your idea, or a bunch of nine year old girls to talk about their burning issues, or crowd sourcing your game concept with fans.
Align yourself with people known for similar work
This could be a writer, executive producer or director. For some genres, stars are crucial and it can certainly help having a couple of possibilities to boost your marketability.
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