Week 2 of the FutureLearn Enterprise course has been all about ideas and inspiration. At the beginning of the week I enjoyed a series of TED Talks asking, ‘where do ideas come from?’ For someone who worries about finding that truly original idea it was refreshing to be introduced to the notion that ‘everything is a remix’. Not only that, the best ideas come about through sharing and collaboration. Indeed, as a species humans evolved because we shared i.e. traded, the things we made. Unlike the Neanderthals, who were quite clever, but they didn’t share between tribes and look what happened to them. Unfortunately the tribe mentality can still prevail in the human race and success is used to exploit others in our inequitable and unjust society. If we worked together the world could be a better place. It sounds idealistic but the ‘collective brain’, that vast network of total human knowledge that we have increasing access to via the internet, could hold the key to real progress.
Even important discoveries and inventions did not come about in sudden ‘Eureka’ moments. Even the proverbial light bulb was an idea that evolved over time and from a variety of different sources. Maybe the successful inventor or entrepreneur rides on the crest of a wave of ideas and thinking. They might add a novel twist or find a way of making an idea practical.
I love the idea of the enterprise shed that this course team have developed. It’s good to hear how it came about collectively through group discussions in the team, which we are learning, is how great ideas happen! I just love the whole ‘shed’ movement that has been growing recently. I’ve read about a lovely project for older men to support their health and well-being that exploits the concept of the shed. They gather together to make stuff, have cups of tea and natter. Men’s mental illness is a growing health concern and this is a creative and ‘manly’ solution.
I don’t have an actual shed. I do a lot of my thinking when I walk the dog and I have created a virtual shed. I have an Instagram account and post my photographs there, I write a journal, I started this blog and more recently my kids bought me a beautiful art book for colouring in. It’s awesome! I’m creating psychological space rather than an actual space, but it feels like somewhere ideas can grow. One of those little Shepherd’s Huts in the garden would be rather wonderful too…
I get inspiration from all over the place but I was prompted this week to think about people in particular who have influenced me. I have had the very great privilege throughout my career as an occupational therapist to support people at the most challenging times in their lives. I am constantly amazed at the human spirit to face adversity and overcome challenges. Over the past four years I have been a volunteer with military charities and the courage and sacrifice of people in our Armed Forces really motivates me to play my part in making the world a better place. One of the most inspiring parts of working with military people is their sense of humour and, as entrepreneurs, we must never, ever take ourselves too seriously.
Is inspiration enough for success, or are some people just lucky? In my opinion, anyone can be lucky; luck comes from being open to possibilities and seeing as many connections as possible between people and events. I work really hard all the time and make lots of little discoveries along the way. I constantly borrow and apply ideas from elsewhere especially in my teaching to keep it fresh and inspired. I’ve also learnt a lot about digital media from observing and working alongside others. Inspiration comes from such a multitude of sources; conversations, books, digital media, the news, history and, I mustn’t forget, my students who are endlessly creative.
The week ended with more TED talks and I listened again to Brene Brown on vulnerability. If you haven’t listened to this, you must. My mantra has been for some time; ‘have courage’ and now I will add ‘I am enough’.
TED Talks ‘Where do ideas come from?
TED Talk Brene Brown ‘Vulnerability’
The charity I support as a volunteer: http://www.thebaton.co.uk/
Follow the course on twitter using #FLentshed and find the course and others at www.futurelearn.com
Some of my pictures from this week: