Free the Idea Monkey is a philosophy and a system. It’s the (crucial) “How To” increase your odds of innovation success, along with the “Why.” Why? Because you probably already have Idea Monkeys and (Ring)leaders on your team.And that means you’ve got to tame those inspirational primates to focus on what matters most while inspiring your (Ring)leaders to provide structures that nurture game-changing ideas.
Having the best balance of Idea Monkeys and (Ring)leaders on your team isn’t always easy, but it does mean you’ll have the best chance of making really big ideas happen. So who are these Idea Monkeys, anyway? Well, let’s get to know them now. After all, you might be one!
Idea Monkeys are connectors, readily joining numerous thoughts into new ones. Unlike most people, they are able to temporarily ignore the myriad of reasons why an idea might not work and, instead, choose to pour their energy into possibilities. Idea Monkeys are often the energizing sparks in the room who keep ideas coming at a rapid pace. For Idea Monkeys, anything is achievable and every challenge is merely an idea waiting to happen.
For the Idea Monkey, the word “can’t” is like a rallying cry for ideas. I’ll never forget being in a brainstorm with a client when one of their biggest thinkers said that something could not be done.
Moments later, the CEO of a wireless surveillance company—an outside expert we had asked to participate in the ideation—was drawing his idea for how to overcome the “can’t.”
Our client sat dumbfounded as he recognized that he was wrong and that a solution existed. He had been concentrating on the wrong issues. Later, our client confided in me that they had been working on that challenge for five years.
Someone who knows how to awaken and manage the Idea Monkey in their organization is a (Ring)leader—an incredibly valuable resource. If you can awaken the Idea Monkey inside yourself, you become a priceless resource.
Idea Monkeys, as the classic Apple commercial stated, are the “Crazy Ones.” They are artists, inventors, engineers and scientists. They are dreamers and believers. The Apple commercial ends with the phrase, “Because people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, usually do.” Apple is clearly run by a bunch of Monkeys.