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Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night with a fantastic idea? The type that keeps you awake long into the morning and won’t let you sleep until you’ve figured out how you’re going to put it into practice? You are not on your own.

Everybody has ideas, however, it is how you go about developing them that really makes a difference. This is not to say that you can’t start developing an idea whilst staring at your ceiling at three in the morning, but perhaps there are better ways of exploring what you are going to do and how you are going to implement it. It is also important to remember that everyone has there own way of developing ideas. Yet, there are a few things that each individual should think about whilst going through this process.

1. Understand your idea – This might sound strange, but understanding your idea is key. Write down your initial thoughts regarding what your idea is, and then do research on it.

You might find that other people have had the same ideas as you too, however, you know you could improve what they are doing, or come up with a more effective way of putting the idea into practice. Likewise you could find that nobody has thought of the idea before, in which case you need to start asking yourself who is your idea going to benefit, how are you going to reach them and what questions can you ask to really discover if the idea is viable or not.

2. Test it out – Once you really understand what your idea is, create an action plan and test it out. The only way that you are really going to know if something is viable or not is if you put it into practice.

Before you can test out your idea, you need to know what is necessary for you to achieve or gain before this is viable. Perhaps you need funding, or equipment, or maybe even a test audience. Make a list and find as much as you can before starting with the testing process. You want to make it as near to the real thing as possible, otherwise during the analysis process you may be inclined to use the missing things as explanations for problems when it might not be the case.

3. Know how to analyse success and failure – After you have tested out your idea, you will have a much deeper knowledge of what works and what doesn’t. Use this to your advantage.

Just because things may have gone wrong during the tester, don’t get disheartened. Learn from the mistakes that you made and find ways to improve them when putting together the finalised version of your idea. You may go through a longer testing process than this, trying out different things until something works, or you might find that it went pretty well the first time around and you just have to be clearer on what you want. Regardless, use it as a learning experience and keep going.

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