The Flaming Smoothie: Developing Your Ideas Book

Great ideas start with you.

Recently, I had lunch with a wonderful friend and collaborator.  We were talking about innovative ideas for the library setting, a favorite topic of ours. We both appreciate fresh approaches and our ideas were building one upon the other. When I suggested a smoothie bar in a library, that wonderful friend bounced back an idea that delighted me: the Flaming Smoothie. So creative! So brilliant! It underscored the idea of the library as a destination with something special to offer. Sure, I know that there might be a safety issue with implementing the Flaming Smoothie bar idea. It does not make it any less great.

During my seven years as library director in an academic library, I learned the importance of collecting great ideas. You never know when they could be useful to you or to a colleague. At the very least, they deserve to be preserved. The ideas–no matter how creative or out-of-left-field–can spark your imagination or provide solutions that may be actionable some day. They don’t have to be new or unique ideas. If you attend a workshop that presents a great process or idea, as long as it seems worthy to you, it deserves to be captured.
I keep an Ideas Book for just this purpose, in the form of a Google Slides document. I create a new slide for every new idea. I include the source of the idea and jot down notes that occur to me about the idea. I am up to 82 ideas. I keep them private for a while without comment or refinement.  It takes time for me to be ready to take action or modify them. Sometimes I need to forget about them so that I can come back to them with a fresh mind. Eventually, I will either take action or blog about these ideas.
If you don’t have an Ideas Book, you may want to consider starting one. The ideas can be as small as a rotating student poetry exhibit or as large as a makerspace.  I would especially suggest you include ideas like the Flaming Smoothie Bar. The bolder the better!

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