Location: Shanghai, China
I was first introduced to Idea Sex by James Altucher.
The concept is quite simple:
(Idea A) + (Idea B) = New Idea
Two ideas come together, they create a new idea, and good things happen.
Here’s a famous example of Idea Sex from 1892:
Sometimes Idea A and Idea B create something much bigger and better than the sum of their individual parts.
The result is more like multiplication than addition.
When the bigger and better happens, you end up with this:
(Idea A) x (Idea B) = GREAT IDEA
How to Have Great Idea Sex
(a step by step guide)
There are plenty of ways for Ideas to have Sex.
Sometimes the Idea Sex “just happens”, and beautiful babies are conceived.
However, I know that most of you prefer to plan for these types of things.
Because you have more important things to do than wait around all day for the mood to strike, I’ve created a simple method for you (and the people you truly care about) to make it happen.
This step-by-step method has been employed with multiple consulting clients, in multiple industries, from multiple countries.
This method is certainly not the only way for Ideas to have Sex, but it is a great place to start.
It can be used for:
- Sparking ideas for a specific project
- Expanding your point of view on a given topic
- Improving a person or group’s ability to create and express ideas
- Building stronger collaboration and understanding within your team
The feedback has been 100% positive.
People participating in this exercise will be referred to as Idea Machines.
1. Initial Idea Creation (organize and write)
Get a group of Idea Machines together.
Pick the topic(s) that you want to work on.
Have everyone in the group write down 10 (or more) ideas related to the topic.
If there is any sort of time constraint or deadline involved, this is usually better done with a timer. Something about the pressure of the clock causes people to focus like laser beams.
The written aspect of part 1 can also be done alone by the individual Idea Machines.
What’s important is that everyone bring their 10 ideas to the session.
2. Idea Sharing (speak)
Each Idea Machine will read and quickly explain his or her 10 ideas with the group.
This is not the time for extended discussion of the ideas, but it is fine for participants to ask the Idea Machine that is sharing to clarify any unknown language.
This step gets the group’s creative juices flowing on a higher level.
3. Written Idea Cultivation and Refinement (write)
Idea Machines pick their three favorite ideas, and put them into order from least favorite (#3) to most favorite (#1).
Then they expand upon them in written form.
As in step 1, a timer will often come into good use here.
This is also a good chance to answer any questions that may have come up from other group members in step 2.
4. Presentation of Cultivated and Refined Ideas (speak)
Idea Machines each speak in depth about their 3 ideas.
The presentation passes clockwise around the room, one idea at a time.
It starts with the #3 idea, moves to #2, then on to #1 (the absolute favorite).
All of the Idea Machines’ names are written on a board (or paper or computer screen), and a word or two that sum up their 3 ideas are listed next to their name.
This is a great time for more in-depth discussion, if time permits.
5. Idea Romance Novels
Idea Machines write 3 new stories, scenarios, or concepts.
They do this by using their own 3 ideas and combining them, one by one, with 3 of the other ideas on the board.
The ideas on the board have all been discussed extensively, therefore everyone should have a clear understanding of the meanings, and be able to create something good (or at least entertaining).
6. Verbal Intercourse
Idea Machines present their newly created stories/scenarios/concepts to the group.
Sharing occurs, even more ideas are sparked, and action steps are determined.
Everyone in the group is now ready to go execute, command, and conquer.
The Mission Continues
How Idea Sex Changed My Life
The Mission Continues is an example of great Idea Sex.
Amazing Idea Sex:
Community Service x Post-9/11 US Military Veterans = The Mission Continues
As I’ve said before:
Once upon a time, I was a self-exiled veteran.
Every day, I hurt myself and others as I practiced destructive habits I developed upon returning from Iraq.
One day, everything changed: I remembered that my great joys in life were mastering skills, conquering challenges, and connecting with honorable people.
Because of that, I relearned to see every “problem” that life put in front of me as an opportunity for betterment.
Because of that, I regained control of my situation, moved beyond society’s programming, and expanded my circle of positive influence.
Until finally, I am doing work that I love, in a thought provoking part of the world, for people who need and appreciate what I produce for them.
In 2013, The Mission Continues helped me get there.
Because of my TMC Fellowship, I was able to combine my passion for fitness with my passion for helping communities.
The result was that I began to work with a non-profit boxing gym in East Harlem, New York City.
Fitness x Community = El Barrio Boxing
While working with El Barrio Boxing, I improved my ability to:
- Lead the day to day operations of a service business
- Create and leverage content for marketing purposes
- Coach groups and individuals to reach their desired outcomes
Why You Need Idea Sex
Something at the local McDonald’s (here in Shanghai) caught my attention the other day:
3 new devices designed to replace the people taking orders (and pushing buttons) at the counters.
As information technology capabilities increase exponentially, our world is changing faster than ever.
Some people push buttons (influenced) and some people find problems (influencers).
Button pushers focus on tasks that are given to them.
Problem finders focus on understanding processes, then leveraging them.
Problem finders determine the tasks for the button pushers to complete.
As technology advances, button pushers will increasingly find themselves replaced by robots and computer algorithms.
Problem finders will become the only productive people left in society, because those who ask the right questions are irreplaceable.
Idea Sex is all about asking questions and looking for possibilities where nobody else thought they would exist.
A computer can’t do that.
An Idea Machine can.
You Now Hold The Keys to The Castle
Traditional media platforms have largely determined what types of ideas, talents, and beliefs reach the majority of Americans for at least the past 50 years.
The traditional media (book publishers, news organizations, and network television) are controlled by a select few gatekeepers.
These gatekeepers look out for their own interests, as well as the interests of the people paying them (sponsors), and the interests of the people regulating them (politicians).
You are probably reading this blog post on a smart device.
Now you can use the same device to:
- View, take, and share photos
- Read, write, and publish books
- Record, edit, and release videos
These are all forms of media content.
With your smart phone in hand, you (potentially) are the media.
What happens to the importance of the traditional media systems?
What happens to your importance, relative to those traditional media systems?
Your Importance Is Increasing
What are the implications of this for you, for your family, and for your method of putting food on the table?
The economic philosopher Karl Marx is famous for saying that the capitalists (rich) have always controlled the means of production, and the poor have had to live (and die) by the consequences of the capitalist’s decisions.
Marx’s views are highly contested around the world, but he was right about this: most people have been at the mercy of the rich since the beginning of civilization.
As long as humans have been organizing themselves into cities, there have always been people with more (and less) access to resources living in close proximity.
Some people have always lived inside the castle, and some people have always lived outside it.
However, the game has changed.
You hold the keys to the castle.
You control the narrative about your brand, your beliefs, and your business.
As I said, you are probably reading this content on a smart device. You now hold the means of production in your hands. You now hold the keys.
You hold the same keys that men, companies, and organizations have used to gain wealth, power, and influence for at least a century.
You hold the keys to the castle.
These trends have strong implications for your ability to:
- Do business
- Produce value and influence your situation
- Find, create, and collaborate with people who believe what you believe
Ideas, connections, and concentration are the currencies of the future.
This article was created to help you with the ideas, but our conversation is only just beginning.
This Article Is Idea Sex
The Idea Machine
+ The Mission Continues
+ My Experiences Working with Clients =
Are You Getting Enough Idea Sex?
Will you start writing your 10 ideas and combine them with other good ideas?
Will you be replaced by a robot, or will you find your voice and own your freedom?
P.S. Feel free to share your ideas in the comments section below.
P.S.S. James’ Idea Machine makes this whole process a lot easier. I recommend you check it out.
And below is a 5 minute YouTube video where he talks about Idea Sex:
For those of you with a bit more time, here is an excellent TED talk on the topic by Matt Ridley: