Great Ideas Don’t Always Look Good

This may be a bold statement, but I don’t think that great, creative ideas have ever depended extensively on syntax, the structure of language.

Yes, the structure used to communicate anything is important, but the creative foundation of an idea is built through semantics, the meaning of things. Transferring knowledge to generate understanding via communication is dependent on both of these things, but we should be careful not to obsess about format.

A good idea does not need its i’s crossed and t’s dotted.. In fact, the idea could end up lacking substance, or never coming to fruition if we focused on these things too much. Don’t point out the mistake, fight the urge!

I thought about this while re-visiting the difference between editing and copy-editing. The former requires insight to connect ideas and focuses on the subject matter, while the latter uses mostly fixed rules, and places greater emphasis on format.

There’s always room to doll up great ideas. I want to encourage you all to be slobs in your creative process, because “thinking out of the box” is a messy affair, and no sane person would ever encourage people not to think out of the box when they expect great ideas.

Look, I’m not saying be sloppy with your delivery all the way through. After all, good ideas can only become great practical applications if they are packaged nicely and conveyed eloquently. Just don’t let nitpicking be a barrier to your creativity, especially in the early stages of your work.

So get messy with your creative process. Make mistakes. Collaborate. Brainstorm. Argue. Make notes. Scratch out. Add colour. Have fun.

This is the perfect incubator to cultivate great ideas.

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