While we like to glamorize the idea of the “heroic loner” the truth is that when it comes to big ideas and innovative thinking it rarely happens solo. And this couldn’t be more true than in our digital world. A recent article in FAST COMPANY touched on the power of conversation and collaborative dialogue to spark creative and explosive thinking.
Silicon valley – eight mouths are better than one
You’re probably reading this article on a smart phone, tablet, or laptop right now. But, had it not been for the conversations of eight, disgruntled thinkers, many of the aforementioned technological wonders wouldn’t exist. Known as the “treacherous eight” and made up of the future co-founders of Intel (Gordon Moore and Robert Noyce). It was their shared conversations about the paranoia of their common boss at the time that led these tech pioneers to the idea to launch their own company – one where all eight of them could happily work together. The result? The first integrated circuit. Oh yeah, and Silicon Valley.
The Facebook conversation
I know I’m an addict now and for Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg it was his penchant for instant messaging and a chat with Adam D’angelo that helped him solve a few early business challenges launching Facebook – namely, how to ensure the launch of the now-famous Winklevoss twins dating site didn’t overshadow his “THE FACEBOOK” launch. I think we all know how that turned out – the social network did after all, win an Oscar.
As shocking as it may sound now, originally conventional wisdom was that online was only for selling books and CDs (yes CDs). But what about clothes? Nope. Enter Zappos.com founder Nick Swinmurn who began a series of voicemail conversations with a venture capitalist. “5% of sales of the $40 billion shoe industry happens through paper mail-order catalogs” went the voice mail. I’m paraphrasing a little. Quick math, that’s $2 billion without people even trying on the shoes first. So, this creative, entrepreneurial team tried a new kind of web business first. And Zappos was born.
So can creativity happen by the loneliest number? Hmmmm, sure it can. But, as any good creative person knows when ideation is combined with collaboration and… the often taken-for-granted or forgotten-about pivotal step in the creative process –conversation – one idea can ignite into thousands or even a global phenomenon. Knod, knod, wink, wink Facebook. So next time you need to come up with an idea, make sure you book some creative conversation-storming time. I know I will. Starbucks here I come. Like I needed a reason. LOL.
To read about other idea-catalyzing conversations check out Fast Company.