What good is a good idea?

When my brother was in college, he lived in a house off campus with four or five other guys. The house was furnished in typical bachelor, boy-man style – that is, not much style. The sofas were rescues from the curbs of apartment buildings, but the electronics were everywhere. Most of the furnishings included bicycles, skateboards, balls, kayaks, car parts, piles of clothing, empty sacks of chips and the inevitable old TV.

Being an engineering student, meant my brother was inspired to try new ways of doing things. The good idea that stands out in my memory is the makeshift bidet that he made for the toilet. You heard me; bidet. Let’s insert here that I was first impressed that he knew what that was. Then, fascinated that he wanted to combine the function with that of a toilet. (Look up the differences for yourself if you need to.) He had a great idea!! That combined item is very expensive to purchase. And he did actually make his combo. Unfortunately or maybe fortunately, he was really only interested in seeing if he could invent a cheaper version. He certainly did, but it was in no way marketable. The tubes ran around the rim, were fastened with plastic ties and the esthetics were just not there. His good idea was not such a good idea.

Ideas, ideas: they can come from anywhere, for all reasons, under every circumstance, at any event, on every occasion, when you are all by yourself, or when you are talking with someone. Everyone gets an idea for a product or solution to a problem. Most of the time someone else has also had the same idea. After all, “there is nothing new under the sun . . .”

How will you know your idea is a good one unless you try?


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