Creating an Idea Development System

Here’s my process for going from idea to blog post

Conor Dewey

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Ideas are at the root of everything we do. They form our view of the world, who we are, and the actions we take. Some say that ideas don’t matter and that only execution does. I disagree. You can only get so good at execution. Great ideas give you much more leverage.

That said, the underlying assertion that standalone ideas aren’t valuable has some truth to it. Interesting outcomes come from combining ideas together and digging below surface-level assumptions. If you want to get the most out of your ideas, extra effort is required.

I like to refer to this extra effort as the “idea development” process. If you’re a somewhat curious person then you’re already doing this to some degree. In my case, sometimes I would take the time to further develop my ideas. Other times I would just collect them and move on. As James Clear would put it, I needed a system:

Goals can provide direction and even push you forward in the short-term, but eventually a well-designed system will always win. Having a system is what matters. Committing to the process is what makes the difference.

This post lays out my process for going from idea to blog post. Note that I’ll focus on writing as my medium of choice for developing and sharing ideas. There are plenty of other ways to achieve this, but all the principles here should still apply. What matters is that you are taking ideas a step further and putting something out into the world.

Draw Inspiration from Others

All ideas are combinations of other ideas. If you want to have better ideas, have more ideas in general. You know, like an inventor trying to build something new. If they have a handful of parts, they won’t get far. If they have thousands of parts to draw from, then the possibilities are endless.

If you haven’t checked out Where Good Ideas Come From from Steven Johnson, the book does a good job of further explaining this point:

Good ideas are not conjured out of thin air

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Conor Dewey

Product at Metabase. Previously growth at Hugo and data science at Squarespace. Writing here now: https://www.conordewey.com