I’m sure this is a question that everyone has asked at some point in their lives. Do great ideas just come to us naturally? Or is it just pure luck? It took 20 Barangays with 20 innovative solutions to local challenges to remind us of this prevailing truth: Great ideas can come from anyone under the unlikeliest of circumstances. So, maybe the better question is: How and where do I get these great ideas? Here are some unlikely (sometimes hard to swallow) lessons we learned from our Barangay Innovators. Lessons we wished everyone knew.
People always say connect with the C-suite people because that’s where significant innovations are born; in the company of people in fancy dresses and tailored suits. But what if we tell you that great ideas can also (and most likely will) come from those wearing Php100 rubber slippers?
When you connect, person-to-person, with those on the ground, it can widen your perspective. Their stories and their first-hand experience of the challenges they face everyday is the best inspiration for groundbreaking ideas.
C-suite people can only offer you a box-level perspective. Great ideas need a front-row seat.
It doesn’t always mean multi-million projects or countless news articles. Sometimes a great idea can mean a simple idea. It can mean a simple filtration tool that can help provide clean water for all people living in your community. It can also mean creating a simple system that encourages people to exchange their plastic wastes for groceries.
We equal great ideas with large-scale projects when there is greatness in simple innovations as long as it helps the people who need it the most.
The common belief is that improvements will come if you listen to the people’s woes. But is that enough? Is a 10-page report on the problem and why it is happening enough to inspire you and move you to act? Maybe not. A report may not give you a clear picture of the problem and the hardships the people face. So, put it down, go out of the safety of your four walls and experience the trouble yourself. It will stick to you more, and at the same time, you’ll build more empathy with the people who face this challenge every day.
Remember: reports can only give you a fraction of what you need to know.
You can do everything right, read every business book, and search for great ideas everywhere. But, sometimes, great ideas just won’t come from you, and that’s okay. If it came from your teammate, customer, or even the frontliner you just randomly bumped into during lunch, you need to step aside to let these great ideas form.
There’s no room for ego when it comes to great ideas.
Finally, our last lesson comes from the 2022 Philippine presidential elections.
Parade-filled streets, pink boats on the water, and original songs filling our ears. Great ideas form best when there is something to fight for.