One of the awesome presentation proposals we had for BlogWorld Expo 2010 was from Charles Lee, CEO of Ideation, a consultancy that specializes in branding, marketing, design, web, social media, and event development. It was yet another case of not having enough slots for all the awesome people who wanted to speak BlogWorld, but I did want to highlight some of the points of his proposal because I think they’re super important for all bloggers! Charles was nice enough to answer some of my questions so I could share them with you:
Allison: Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you first started working with others to turn ideas into reality.
Charles: I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs. Both of parents were in the restaurant industry and I remember from early childhood how they would regularly take an innovative idea and find creative ways to implement. I had no idea that the environment I would grow up in would prepare me to help others actualize concepts. About 10 years ago while working in the not-for-profit sector, organizations and companies began to approach me about the unique ways I was developing campaigns and products. I began to help them think through systems that move ideas forward. Little did I know that I would one day do this for a living.
Why do you think so many bloggers with great ideas stall out after just a few months?
Developing great ideas is a lifetime commitment. I think some bloggers stall out because they were never clear about what they hoped to accomplish through their blog. In other words, their passion trumped the need for a clear plan and strategy. Short term vision doesn’t have the legs to survive. Knowing where I want to go or what I hope to accomplish inspires me during seasons of doubt and frustration.
How would you suggest bloggers evaluate their ideas to determine whether or not they’re actually good?
Like Seth Godin regularly preaches, “Good ideas are boring.” The better question to ask is “What makes my blog great?” Although the criteria for greatness will vary from blogger to blogger, I think one thing can be consistent across the board and that is, “What am I uniquely bringing to the table?” In our digital age, if you have something of value, people will find it, especially if you choose to write about it consistently and with high quality. A practical way to see what value your blog is bringing to the table is to ask people around you. Ask them what ideas come to mind when they think of you. Are you ready to hear what they say?
In your BlogWorld proposal, you talked about the need for intentional strategy. Can you talk a little about what that means for bloggers and how they can go about developing one?
For blogging, I think it’s important to identify goals and then develop a strategy. As mentioned above, “What do you hope to accomplish through your blog?” For some people, it may be that they use their blog as a means of recording personal thoughts for friends and family while for others, they are hoping to make it their livelihood. These are two totally different goals that will then determine their strategy and frequency of engagement. It’s not to say one goal is better than the other. They are just different. I personally like setting aside some time each quarter for mapping out my content direction (with room for spontaneous posts of course). This process allows me to become more accountable to my work. I use my iCal to remind me each week about checking back on the overall direction. This way, when new ideas come in, I have a filter that keeps me focused on where it is I hope to go.
What other steps do you think are necessary in making an idea reality?
Wow! This is a loaded question that probably can’t be answered in this shorter format. Nevertheless, elements of idea-making include a commitment to work hard, network intentionally, take personal and corporate resistance in stride (read The War of Art), continue to simplify concepts, welcome seemingly unrelated ideas and nurture them (e.g., Medici Effect), share ideas openly that have been somewhat developed, and follow your intuition (It’s usually right.).
Not every idea succeeds. What are some tips you have for dealing with failure?
I believe failure is just a momentary redirection that doesn’t have to stop your path or momentum towards actualizing your dreams. “Failure” is just a social designation for something that didn’t work. If you learned and grew through the process, it will always be considered success in my books. Although “failure” often feels disheartening, the reality is that every great idea-making has experienced it on their road to greatness. Who knows, you might be one “failure” away from greatness. In addition, some ideas that have failed for me in the past are better off dead. My life would not be what it is today if those ideas had actually succeeded. Yes, I will choose to side with optimism over realism or pessimism any day.
Thank you, Charles, for giving BlogWorld readers such awesome information!
Along with being the CEO of Ideation, Charles is also a founding member of JustOne, a NPO committed to addressing issues of poverty, orphans, and slavery. In addition, Charles is the creator of grassroots efforts including the Idea Camp, Ideation Conference, and the Freeze Project. Charles regularly speaks around the country on topics such as creativity, innovation, leadership, social media, community development and compassionate justice.