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So, Why Should I Care About Your Big Idea?

There is nothing more mind-numbing than reading in someone’s bio or profile a list of things they are “passionate” about, in a sentence that goes: “I am passionate about x, y, and z.” When you say it that way, we just don’t believe you. Why? Because if you’re really passionate about something, you gush about the thing itself – about how it makes you feel and why.

John Butman, who advises “idea entrepreneurs” for a living, would agree. The best ideas, he has observed, start from something that fascinates their creators. But they catch on only when the creator is able to pinpoint and express that fascination. “I love cars!” just won’t cut it. “I live for cars!” Nope. Sorry. We don’t get it. “A great car should feel like an exoskeleton – a sleeker, more powerful extension of your body.” Now we’re getting somewhere.

If you’re a budding or nascent idea entrepreneur, you need to get excruciatingly specific about your passions. The easiest way, says Butman, is to talk through specific memories – moments when you were immersed in a favorite activity, fully alive and energized. And if you can find a trusted friend to listen, all the better.

Video: Pinpoint Your Fascination, with John Butman (free preview: full video available with subscription to Big Think Mentor).

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In the knowledge economy, ideas are the new widgets. John Butman has been helping people develop and express great ideas for decades, but in recent years, he observes, something has changed. He calls it the rise of the Idea Entrepreneur, as evidenced by the proliferation of authors like Malcolm Gladwell, conferences like TED and Aspen Institute, and websites like Big Think. The idea entrepreneur, says Butman, is motivated primarily by a passion for the idea itself, and a desire to spread its influence. With so many ideas competing for attention, however, a few succeed while a great many fail. In How to Succeed as an Idea Entrepreneur, his workshop for Big Think Mentor, Butman teaches you why.

In this workshop, you’ll learn to:

  • Understand idea entrepreneurship and recognize its stirrings in yourself.

  • Isolate the ideas that fascinate you most.

  • Express the passion you feel for an idea, not just its content.

  • Let your idea “respire” as others adapt it to their own needs.

  • Build an organizational culture to sustain your idea

  • Transition your idea from a personal vision to an other-centered enterprise.

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