Hunting with IDEA Principles

In an earlier post, the concept of becoming an Idea Hunter was introduced. Based on the work of Andy Boynton and Bill Fischer, these concepts are outlined in their recent book “The Idea Hunter.”

Understanding how to become an idea hunter starts with four foundational concepts the authors call the IDEA principles. Each of the four connect with crucial attitudes, habits, skills, and strategies.


The first principle turns on the question: Do I want to be interested, or merely interesting? In the hunt for ideas, being Interested in the world around you is of greater importance. Incredible ideas can come from anywhere; you just have to be on the lookout for them. Idea hunters understand that intellectual curiosity often leads to success. Curiosity will take you further toward your goals than cleverness or even brilliance.


Idea Hunters are aware of the multitude of trails that can lead to worthwhile ideas. They don’t read the same magazines, browse the same websites, and compare notes with the same people. That only leads to variations on the same tired ideas. Idea Hunters bring in thoughts that are different but applicable, seemingly unrelated but potentially valuable. The operative assumption should be that ideas are everywhere.


Idea Hunters exercise their idea muscles all the time, not just in your office or at a brainstorming session. Pursuing an idea requires daily training, keeping notebooks for recording what they’ve seen or heard. These personal experiences and impressions are then connected to their projects and proposals. Their searches are highly focused and purpose-driven. Successful idea hunters develop a wide range of skills, realizing that the pursuit of ideas doesn’t start when you are faced with a difficult problem that needs a quick solution.


Idea Hunters don’t proceed in a straight line, because most of their ideas bounce all over the place. While it is possible to conceive of an idea and pursue it in a straight line to implementation, more than likely you will be veering right and left, maybe even backtracking, looking for ideas that come at you from different directions. Agility is required because your notions and impressions are worth little unless they are in motion, shifting in response to fresh data and conversation, evolving through stages of reflection and prototyping.

Understand and practice the IDEA principles, and you are ready to go idea hunting.


Brilliance Not Required

Idea work is a vital asset for leaders today. It is highly learnable, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a creative genius because most high-value ideas are not created. More often than not, they are already out there, waiting to be spotted and then shaped into an innovation.

It’s time to become an Idea Hunter.

High-value ideas come to those people who are in the habit of looking for such ideas – all around them, all the time. It’s a search for ideas that’s open-ended, ongoing, and always personal – dialed into who you are, what projects you are pursuing, and where you’re going in your career and life.

Brilliance is optional. Idea Hunters are not, as a rule, geniuses. They are just idea-active. They have a voracious appetite for acquiring ideas, and they are skilled at setting those ideas into motion.

Ready to go hunting?