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Swimming Upstream From An Idea

Swimming Upstream From An Idea

Stewart Hillhouse
Stewart Hillhouse

When I come across an interesting idea, I used to take it at face value: "Well, that's cool. Whoever thought of that must have been really smart."

But that singular idea often doesn't tell the whole story. There's more to know and understand.

Ideas are like a flowing river. There is a predictability to it. Water flows downhill and will always follow the path of least resistance to get there.

While this concept is well understood and measured, all hell breaks loose when the system is disrupted. Everything changes when a new obstacle is introduced.

What happens if you were to drop a large boulder in a river? Firstly, rapids would form around the boulder as the current must now find a new path downstream.

But that disruption in the flow will also lead to significant changes downstream over time - eddies, bends, deep pockets where sediment gathers. It's in these by-products of disruption where the healthiest habitat for fish and animals are found.

It's in these pockets where the best ideas live.

Now when I come across an interesting idea, I get curious about who placed the original boulder in the river. What other idea boulders created the conditions for this vibrant pocket of life to exist?

You can't understand the whole river from a single point on the shore. Whenever you notice an interesting idea, take a moment to explore upstream - that's where the foundational idea boulders can be found.

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