Dec 08

It’s Alive!! The “Frank-en-Idea”

It’s amazing the things you remember… and that sometimes pop up in the brain at the weirdest times. I was just sitting here, thinking about what to write with all the necessary preparations in place: Laptop? Check. Music? Check. Adult Beverage? Check.

…then nothing.

What to write about? I’m sure I had a bunch of good ideas flowing in my head literally minutes ago, when I first said to myself “OK DK, time to write.”

Now….. ziltch.

But then, everything started snapping into place. iTunes started off my “ah-ha” moment with a little Warren Zevon and “Werewolves of London“… that (of course) brought me to thinking when I was a kid, WAAAAAY back in the day in Scranton, PA when I used to look forward to a crazy local TV show on WNEP called “Uncle Ted’s Ghoul School” (a shiny quarter to anyone who remembers that show! Man, it was so low-fi but as a little one it was fantastic!) Uncle Ted introduced a double feature of classic horror movies and also performed funny little magic tricks (all in a signature red Fez hat… I know, TV gold. TV. Gold.).. but I remembered, that is where I first saw movies like “American Werewolf in London”.. and that got me thinking about Frankenstein.

And that brings me here. (Did you arrive okay? I know that was a bit squirrelly. Take a second and rest………….)  To that amazing moment when you see how disparate, unconnected ideas sometimes lead to wonderful, connected concepts and ideas.

I call them “Frank-en-ideas.” (or Franken-dea’s.. don’t know yet… patent pending.)


Some of the best ideas don’t come from a single sit-down where you say “Create an idea.” At least for me, some of those cool thoughts are built over time… and space (no not Star Trek space “the final frontier” stuff.. space, like a place to be).  I think there is a definite connection that often happens between “idea parts” cobbled together from different spaces and places. A tune. A conversation topic. An image. Someone saying a buzz word. A sound. A smell.

These component alone, might be good.. but combined with others.. and boom. Nice work Doctor.. It’s Alive!

But to have this happen, I think you need to give yourself the opportunity to get these juices flowin’ and then a way to connect these dots. So, here are some suggestions to build that “Frank-en-Idea” you might realize:

1. An Idea Spot. — Be sure you have a notebook, a bar napkin from one of your favorite places to “invest in refreshment management”, a note app on your iPhone/Blackberry/Android, whatever… just have at the ready a place to collect those pop-up ideas to come throughout the day.

2. Remember “Risk-The Game” — Whenever you played Risk, the idea was simple: build your armies and take over the world. But to accomplish this, you needed to see the whole board. Who’s coming from where. Who is massing their forces in the corner that is “Australia” or who is capturing that crazy land bridge between Irkutsk and Alaska. You needed to see the big board.  Periodically step back from an initial one-shot idea and check how it looks when viewed from the world-view (aka, broaden it out to see what comes into focus, if anything.)

3. Mad Men, baby. Mad Men. — Like the drunks in that ad agency, be sure to “pitch” yourself periodically. Test the value of these ideas by giving yourself a chance to put it together in a presentation to yourself. Take 3 minutes and say “Ok you… sell this idea to me.” See where’s the gaps are, what are the holes. Then….

4. Be a Swiss Cheese Hater. — Fill those holes! What’s missing? Is it another idea? Or is it more a logistically thing (“Yeah you. That’s a great concept, but I have no idea if Transporters like on the USS Enterprise will be online and ready by the time “Tyler’s Teleportation Pizza Delivery” franchises would be up and running.”) .. challenge yourself to be the best critic and nay-sayer… plus it’s good practice to get ready for when…

5. Convene Your Focus Group. — This is easy. Tell a couple of friends “Hey, I have extra food and beer. Wanna come by?” When they get there, voila! Instant Focus Group! Give them your idea or concept and take a temperature in the room… then swear them to secrecy or patent pending legal forms so that beer glass/digital camera combo prototype does fall into the wrong hands (I’m looking at you, Canadian spies embedded in the US).

6. Yikes! And AWAY!!!! — Jump out. Do it. Get it going and start sketching out the Five W’s (who, what, where, when, and why) and see where it takes you. There will be impasses… maybe a few blocking your way… but get out there and swing it!

Frank-en-Ideas can allow your creativity, interests, passions, and pure fun to co-mingle and build out.  Whether your looking to start a new business, solve a project question, plan an event… or even develop plan to take over the world…. don’t be afraid to stitch together some little guys to form a monster bad mama-jama one!

Now if you would excuse me, I have some cheese to fill in… with idea-goodness. ~DK

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