As designers, we often have these “crazy ideas that won’t work”. Well why not? Why won’t they work? If we can find solid answers to those questions then we can reasonably doubt that our ideas will work. However, if we cannot, chances are the idea might be “crazy” but it just might work. The ideas that are deemed crazy or impossible are usually so big that many people can’t visualise its success. If you have an idea and think it can work, then it will.
Having a broad imagination is one of the requirements of being a designer. We will have many ideas in our lifetimes that are extremely ambitious. Chances are, a significant amount of them may have physical limitations that actually make them impossible. However, the rest of our crazy ideas will have no limitations except for the ones that we impose. There’s that famous quote by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, “If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.” I am a huge advocate of this. If we have an idea and can see the steps that make it reasonably possible then the only step forward is for us to get started on it. The fine details and the problems will present themselves. We’re designers. It’s our job to pay attention to fine details and to solve problems. As long as we keep the bigger picture in our mind we can work toward our goals until we achieve them.
One way to tell if an idea is possible or not is to talk with other like-minded people, for example, fellow designers. A lot of times we may become so obsessed with an idea we overlook the limitations that would make the idea impossible. Other people will often see the problems associated with our ideas due to their fresh, unbiased eyes. If our idea can be tried and tested and still survive then we know we have a golden opportunity in our hands. The only thing that would stop us is ourselves. The reason we can’t talk with just anyone and need to talk with like-minded people is because a lot of times we may have a vision in our mind that many people simply will not see. The idea itself may not be impossible but their ability to see the goal may not be there or they may self-impose fragile limitations and make themselves think that it is too big to accomplish. It does not make the idea any less potent or the people any less intelligent. It is simply a difference in vision.
Sometimes, the biggest limitation of a wonderful idea is taking that first step. We may be excited about it. On the other hand, we often know the struggle associated with bringing that idea to fruition and we may not be prepared to handle it. In cases like this, we need to evaluate if the risk is worth the reward. If we do not think the result is worth the sacrifice then I think our answer is self-explanatory. However, if we think that the benefits outshine the costs then the only way we have to go is up. We control our decisions and we create our own futures.
We need to try our best to propose our great ideas and let go of the fear of being criticised. If our ideas are good enough, they’ll withstand the criticism. If they aren’t good enough, then we only have more opportunities to conceive even better ones. We need to be honest with ourselves while conceiving our ideas. Sometimes even a little spark may trigger the largest fire after it bounces around a room. I’ll conclude with this.