There is a rule from my post #4: Writing (or sketching, blogging, recording etc) your idea is critical for at least two reasons. First, we tend to forget them otherwise and, second, we are forced to flesh them out and start prototyping them. It is also a first real test as to whether you have any real interest in it and whether the idea has some type of merit. I spent a day (and soon a good week or two) fleshing out this idea before I finally could set up a meeting with Teresa Amabile – a former professor of mine at Harvard Business School.
Her work in creativity is groundbreaking and she would know if others had done similar work and who they were, I figured. I am not saying that such conversations with experts are a necessary go/no-go state for a new project of any kind. Experts are both the best and worst people to talk to about new ideas. Yes, you must absolutely do your homework, but also be wary with what you find. Some of it will not hold true for your idea or approach. At any rate, this conversation was to get to the best parts. Besides, she is a lot fun.
We met in her office and I explained the general concept of the Intersection and the explosion of idea combinations one could find there. While my hands traced outlines of intersections and idea explosions in the air between us, she looked at me with curiosity. She later told me that she was asking herself: Is this guy for real? Is he actually going to do this research and write a book about it? She leaned over her desk and spoke:
“Researching and writing a book is hard work. Do you know what you are getting yourself into?”
“Oh yeah," I said with true and clueless conviction.
“Well, then” she said and smiled, “I can tell you that your approach is quite unique – and I am curious as to what you’ll find. I recommend that you start your research with some fellows like Dean Keith Simonton, Arthur Koestler - both who would seem to support your thesis, and Howard Gardener -who may counter it.”
The meeting was over. I did not know at the time that she would, in fact, be an invaluable guide during the early stages of the book. But that would come later. Now I was psyched. My hesitancy hesitating and eagerness getting eager I left her office. It was time to get some real work done.