I’ve been experimenting with various focus strategies over the last few months. The core issue faced by developers and designers is the sheer number of ideas that they have and the excitement that follows whenever a new idea pops in. In fact, this concept is applicable to almost everyone who wants to work on their own ideas.
The most difficult part is to contain the excitement. Because that excitement can make you wander to la la land for several hours/days and that can be quite distracting to the current projects that you’re working on.
I have about 1 new great idea every day. Sometimes I just lose track of all the ideas I have because they come and go. When an idea keeps coming to me for a while, and when it causes sleepless nights, that’s when I start to work on it. But there’s a catch… I only work on a new idea if I’m not busy with an existing project.
I’ve already established an irrefutable fact a few months ago: Ideas don’t matter. Execution does.
I let my ideas speak to me. If I have a fleeting glimpse of an idea, then I ignore it until it comes again and again in various forms. Over the years, the way I visualize my ideas has also changed. Nowadays, whenever a new “world changing” idea comes to me, I start visualizing HOW to execute it.
- What will be the challenges to properly execute an idea?
- Will that execution process hinder my other projects?
- What’s the worst case scenario if an idea I execute… completely bombs?
- What’s the BEST case scenario that can be attained with the execution of the idea?
- Most of all, what are the first few steps I need to take to start executing an idea?
For example, I have been thinking on several NGO activities that can be done to benefit the under privileged Indian public at large. One idea that kept coming over and over to me, was to bring electricity to every Indian household.
I was staring out of the balcony from my 11th floor apartment in Bangalore where I’ve recently shifted. As with almost every high-rise in India, you get a glorious view of a slum nearby. The view from my balcony during the night is quite mystifying – there are about 200 small houses in that slum area. During the night, there are only about two dozen bulbs that glow in the darkness. What about the rest of the houses?
Almost 80-90 percent of the houses in the slum area don’t even have something basic as a light bulb. This can be partly attributed to the lack of electricity supply in slum areas and villages. It can also be attributed to the fact that people living in the slums have lost all hope of light after sunset.
How are the children in the slums studying after dark? How much impact could I do on the economy and education sector if every house in India at least had a bulb/LED that could provide light during the night?
So it got me thinking – how can I solve this problem? Here’s how my mind went:
We cannot work with government or private agencies to request electricity deployment because doing so needs a lot of contacts and dealing with a lot of bureaucraZy. Moreover, the people in those slums probably don’t have the money to afford an electricity meter, electricity connection, and electrical equipment.
The best, long lasting and cheapest solution would be to engage in something that can be dealt out for free. Instantly, one word resonated with me: SOLAR!
India is a country with an abundance of heat and sun. If there’s one thing that we are completely under-utilizing is our appetite to generate solar energy.
There were two general options.
One, start a HUGE solar grid. But just the sheer amount of effort needed to launch something of that scale with all the politics involved, was enough to shut out that thought.
Here’s option number TWO:
What if we could have a nifty little device that could be handed over to each household in the slums that could light up their house during the night.
What if that device could be manufactured at a cheap cost and middle class families could BUY it, and all the profit generated could be used to build and distribute similar devices to slums across India.
But solar cells are not cheap. There’s the problem of DESIGN as well. You need a cool design that can be built for cheap and should be easy to install as well.
So an ‘umbrella design’ came to my mind. Mind you, all these thoughts were not letting me sleep at 2 in the morning while lying in my bed. Here’s the prototype that was designed in my head which I’ve re-drawn while writing this post:
While this is a very basic design, it gives you an idea how it will work. We basically hand over an umbrella shaped device to the slum household. They need to just open it up towards the roof, and the solar panels will be setup on the roof. This device would also have a battery to store the charge that would be used to power the light source during the night.
While this is all easy to write and draw, I believe the construction of such a device especially at a cheap cost will be a challenge.
But the whole point is that when that idea came to mind, I didn’t just have an idea – I had a complete outline of how to proceed with the project. How to generate revenue to sustain the project. Even how to hold distribution and training camps at slums. I even had some ideas on how to generate donations and what kind of team to hire for such a mammoth task. (I only need 4 genius people)
So I guess what I’m trying to say is:
Let your idea resonate with you. When you have enough resonance, then start executing it