Translating ideas into action

The forces that help us be productive and execute our ideas are often at odds with the very source of our ideas, our creativity, according to Scott Belsky in his book Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality. The process of turning ideas into reality is usually far more difficult than the process of coming up with good ideas in the first place, and accordingly a creative organisation needs to adopt practices that ensure creative ideas actually go somewhere.

The author refers to his approach to making ideas happen as the “Action Method”. This involves organising projects into their most basic elements: action steps, which are tasks needing to be completed; references, which includes any information related to the project; and backburner items, which are ideas that are not yet actionable. The distillation of projects into these basic elements needs to be followed by relentless prioritisation and execution.

The book covers a lot more ground, but I found myself engaged in a mental debate as I read: on the one hand, the author’s approach seems too simplistic to waste time contemplating, but on the other hand the gap between having ideas and implementing them is a serious problem for nearly everyone, and a seemingly over-simple approach may be the best solution. The book is well-written, easy to read, and potentially very helpful to anyone engaged in a creative pursuit.

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