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Have you met Jim…Jim Johnson? Well, let me tell you about Jim. He is my imaginary colleague who does everything smooth and right, where I struggle in life. He is the slick, confident guy within just about every company that always shines with his brilliant ideas and sharp, innovative solutions.

This probably drives you crazy, and at the same time makes you admire him. But how does he do it? More importantly, how can we all light up the spark of creativity within and generate breakthrough ideas ourselves? How to crack the code to great ideas?

Sincere apologies, but I cannot provide you with a step-by-step guide. I would like to, but to my knowledge it just does not exist. Still, I can tell you three things our friend Jim does right.

1 - Jim doesn’t give into the Imposter Syndrome

Yes, there is such thing as an Imposter Syndrome. It is clinically defined as the inability for some people to internalize their accomplishments. In other words, it is that tiny voice that keeps repeating “you don’t have a clue what you are doing here. They will see this and you will fail miserably. Run!”

Jim, though, doesn’t give into the Imposter Syndrome. He doesn’t think of himself as an imposter or a phony. He knows exactly when to “tap himself on the shoulder” to reward himself for a job well done and build on that feeling. Learn from Jim and give yourself credit. Own your success!

2 - Jim is not afraid to fail

As a society and as individuals, we are always striving for progress. This turns the mere thought of failure into a venom running through our veins, contaminating every creative thought that springs in our minds with a paralyzing fear.

Failing is good! Failing is an art that most people have a low appreciation for. What they fail to recognize are the lessons that can be learned and the numerous possibilities to iterate and improve your skills and offerings.

Jim will tell you, “Fail fast and get back up on your feet faster and wiser! Own your failure like you own your success! At the end that’s exactly what it is.”

3 - Jim builds on old ideas to make new ones.

New ideas have always been perceived as original and innovative. Indeed, even when you search for a synonym of the adjective new, original is the first word that pops up in the results box. In reality, though, a new idea is usually a preexisting one but implemented in a different setting or under changed circumstances.

Let’s take for example a LEGO building blocks set and build a car out of it. Now, what if we make the body of the car a bit longer, and we put a couple of blocks on the side for wings. It almost looks like a plane, doesn’t it? Imagine what this car will turn into if we continue iterating its components.

Musicians take the same approach when creating their repertoire. They break a song into components and every time they play they alter parts of it to create dynamics and adapt to the audience.

The same approach can be applied for generating new ideas. Breakdown old ideas and study their components and parameters. Keep what feels right and discard what doesn’t. Build on what is left. Think about combination and recombination of accumulated knowledge, experience and available resources. Moreover, think about the value that this idea brings.

Now take another look in the mirror. Is this you, Jim? Is that you, future innovation manager?

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Jaspar Roos

Jaspar Roos

Jaspar Roos manages Future Ideas, one of the largest pan European public private platforms dedicated to the startup and venture eco system. Together with Emerce, a leading online blog, Future Ideas pu