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New ideas are nothing more than weird combinations of old ideas

There is no such thing in this world whose origin cannot be traced back. Everything has a previous version from which it originates. Like everything else in this world, our ideas too have a history, every new idea has a previous version from which it emerges. All new ideas come from old ideas – old ideas combine together and bring about new ideas. It’s all about unique and curious combinations of old ideas – then this curious combination becomes what we call a new idea. This is what ideators do to come up with an innovative idea, and this is in fact a great way to generate unique ideas.  So, there are two things that are responsible for the new ideas:
  1. Old ideas
  2. That unique way those old ideas are combined together 
Old ideas: To come up with a new idea about anything, you must have old ideas about that thing. Everything comes from a frame of reference, without a frame of reference you cannot think about anything. This simply translates to the fact that nothing comes from nothing.New ideas are nothing more than weird combinations of old ideas - Old ideas - Think Different Nation Without your previous thoughts or experiences about a thing, you cannot come up with a new thought about that thing. In other words, if you have nothing in your mind about a subject, you can create nothing. We cannot think of anything without recalling the parts of the thoughts that come from memories of past events or experiences. Nothing comes all of a sudden, everything has a base from which it is built. All new ideas come from old ideas. It’s about layering of ideas, layers over layers of ideas bring the idea of something new and exciting. Ideas have a history, if you don’t have any previous (old) idea you cannot come up with the next (next) idea. Or put it another way, ideas have a genealogy, i.e. old ideas modify and give birth to new ideas – brain works from precedent. Creativity relies on memory, new ideas emerge from memories of the old ideas. We take the old ideas and mold them together into some new shape. So, creative ideas evolve from existing memories and impressions.  With something previously existing in your mind, connect the relevant pieces of those captured experiences together to come up with something newer and more exciting. This is what we call ‘that unique way those old ideas are combined together:’ As all new ideas are a combination of old ideas, ideators look for weird combinations of old ideas to generate unique and innovative ideas. So, ideators see how ideas obtained from completely different sourcesNew ideas are nothing more than weird combinations of old ideas - Old ideas are combined together - Think Different Nation could be combined together to create something new and innovative. The process of taking old ideas and mixing them together to make a new idea has been there for a long time.  Think of a thing discovered in the ancient world, there are so many things that were discovered in ancient times by just combining two ideas to make a third one. For instance, the discovery of the Bronze that brought the Stone Age to an end around 3300 B.C. was the result of the combination of two soft metals – iron and tin.  Around 4000 BC in Mesopotamia, the old idea of log canoes was combined with flat potters’ wheels and wild horses to create the idea of  the horse-drawn cart. Then in 1672, Ferdinand Verbiest, a member of a Jesuit mission in China, scaled the same idea of carts by combining it with another old idea, the idea of steam power, to bring about a new idea – the first automobile, (it was a toy though).  On July 20, 1969 the old ideas of ships, fireworks, and science fiction were combined together that enabled the first landing on the moon.  In 1908, Henry Ford brought a revolution in the automobile industry that changed the way the automobile industry had been working. Before his revolutionary work, building a new car was an exhausting process. At that time, each vehicle was custom-built, and different parts were being assembled in different places and then brought together to manufacture the final product. But Henry Ford revolutionized the entire process. For instance, he implemented the idea of  manufacturing and assembling in one place. The raw material was loaded in at one end of the factory, and the final product was driven out of the other end of the factory.  But Ford’s idea of the assembly line has a long genealogy. He got the idea of interchangeable parts from Eli Whitney, who had created munitions with interchangeable parts for the US Army in the early nineteenth century. Eli Whitney came up with the idea of repairing a damaged rifle by replacing its parts with the salvaged spare parts of the other weapons. Ford leveraged this idea to manufacture spare parts in bulk instead of manufacturing spare parts for every individual car. Similarly, Ford obtained the idea of continuous flow production (that sped up the whole production process) from the way Cigarette factories of the previous century operated. Finally, the concept of the assembly line Ford got from the Chicago meatpacking industry. While talking about his revolutionary work for the automobile industry, Ford said, “I invented nothing new. I simply assembled into a car the discoveries of other men, behind whom were centuries of work.”  These are some examples from the previous centuries. Consider a recent technological advancement, and you will see this idea of getting new ideas from old ideas is literally applicable to everything. Consider 5G technology, the 5th generation of cellular technology, committed to connecting billions of devices with billions of people. Did this invention come all of a sudden? Like everything else, it has a history. It started from 1G in 1979 then moved from 2G (1991) to 3G (2001) to 4G (2009) and then scaled to the 5G (2018), the 5th generation, the era of Internet of Things.  These are a few examples that support the idea that all new ideas are the product of old ideas So, now you have a big picture of how new ideas are created. Every new idea is a synthesis of other ideas. So, to generate ideas, think of the diverse possibilities those ideas can be combined together, this can be done with the help of a process of asking questions like I wonder what if, why not, how can I etc. These are the process questions that really scale the process of creating new ideas.  This is the way ideators think and work to bring about the ideas for new products and services. And you too can start thinking like this to become bright, creative, inventive and truly capable of bringing innovation. All you have to do is: capture thoughts or experiences about a thing, and then look for weird combinations of those pieces of thoughts.  This is why we at Think Different Nation platform emphasize the need to capture ideas and experiences that if connected together in a unique and revolutionary way may come about to be a transformational piece of work. If you want to advance your Ideation or innovation journey, join TDN platform today. Sign up now to come up with a next big idea! 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