What inspired you to write the book?
There is so much talk about empowerment in this country. That can only happen through entrepreneurship, which in turn is dependent on ideas. Ideas transform individuals and companies. People with ideas challenge the way things are; they enable change to happen. I believe that anyone can have an idea; there’s no hierarchy to original thinking.
How do you define an idea?
An idea is anything that intelligently confronts the status quo. So often we get stuck in a rut; we accept things as they are and believe we can do nothing about that. An idea allows you to look at a set of circumstances and find different ways to resolve problems. Ideas enable us to stop being creatures of habit. An idea requires you to dream a little, to be a bit naïve, to follow your instinct. This involves risk, courage and determination. Only thereafter should you apply logic and reason. That’s why I talk about the “art” of the idea.
What are the most fertile grounds for new ideas in SA?
The design industry is looking healthy, as is advertising. Looking beyond that, people worldwide are transforming the Internet into big business. Technology is making it possible to create profitable opportunities without requiring a huge infrastructure. That is where the most exciting things are happening.
What is your advice to people who don’t believe they are creative?
The book challenges the fallacy that only creative people have good ideas. There is no such thing as an ideas person. Anyone can have great ideas, provided they follow through.
Are there ways to foster and encourage creative thinking?
There’s lots of mumbo jumbo about creative thinking. Trust your instincts. That’s a good place to start. It sounds so fundamental, but just being positive allows you to be creative. Self-belief is a big thing. Do things differently. Do you have to take the same route to work every day, or listen to the same radio station? Get out of the rut. You don’t know what you cannot do until you do what you have not done.
How do you take an idea and turn it into a reality?
Lack of perseverance is what kills most ideas. If you have done the homework and you are prepared to persist and perhaps endure a bit of ridicule, you will succeed. It helps to have likeminded people around you. Ideas are increasingly becoming a team sport played by people from different disciplines.
Title: The Art of the Idea
Author: John Hunt
Publisher: 30° SouthZebra Press
Illustrated by Sam Nhlengethwa
Available at: www.kalahari.net