Where do great ideas come from? When one idea loves another idea in a very special way, the two ideas get together and make little ideas. I’m serious. It’s all a matter of idea sex.
So what does it mean for ideas to have sex? The answer lies in Matt Ridley’s recent TED2010 talk. “The engine of human progress,” Ridley explains, “has been the meeting and mating of ideas to make new ideas.”
When people get together and share ideas, those ideas mesh, combine, and ultimately evolve into new ideas. Say you have an idea for a great WordPress plug-in, and your friend has a different idea. If you talk to each other, you can ultimately come up with new ideas that are even better than the original. That’s ultimately how the world has developed, according to Ridley. When people freely share and trade ideas, their ideas become better and stronger. They evolve in the form of new ideas.
Ridley’s talk reminded me of something Bre Pettis, of Makerbot, said at the 2009 Gnomedex. Bre urged folks to “liberate the digital designs you have” to make sure you “don’t let them suffocate on your hard drive.”
What’s the take-away advice here? If you keep the things to yourself, you may not go very far. You’re stuck with just what you understand and what you can think of. Get out there and collaborate, let your ideas have sex, and you can take it to the next level. To achieve more, no matter what you’re doing, you have to let your ideas have sex.