Run, run, run and never turn, By Ngozi Bell

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Terms like Known demand, credit utilisation, pent-up demand are all too familiar terms, bantered around by economists and lay people alike as telltale indicators of a country’s or business’ economic health. Well, they matter in relational engagements too!

Known demand – amount of good and services consumers are willing and able to purchase at a given price.

Credit utilisation – the percentage of your total credit that you are using, if you have a 50% rate of credit utilisation it would be above the recommended number.

Pent-up demand – a situation where the demand for a service or product is unusually strong. For example, the general public’s return to consumerism. Basically, the backlog of demand held at bay during a recession and unleashed when the signs of a recovery emerges!

The secret to partnership is in the mutuality of benefit. Many people want you to participate in their idea and for you to serve a cause they have determined is good. Think of it as their idea universe or idea economy.

However, partnerships should be bounded yes, but they must have enough space for participants to roam and create and make sustainable the idea that inhabits the space. To participate in an idea universe or an idea economy that encompasses more than yourself, you must be able to identify the known demand – what is needed of it, what are people willing and able to pay for it? What is the credit utilisation ratio, – how much of other resources are people for which the idea would matter, willing to spare and make available to be leveraged into the idea universe without over borrowing? What is the pent-up demand – how much of the idea are people already implementing, utilising or willing to invest in?

 The characteristic of a healthy idea, is one in an idea universe that has measurable indicators of life and viability. An idea economy within which participants can recognise the “known demand, the credit utilisation and the pent-up demand”. So much so that you deduce how alive that idea is and could become!

Characteristics of a sound idea economy:

  1. Open to flexibility – like a strong economy, a robust idea must have the ability to adjust, understand the lean and plump aspects of the universe it plans to serve. It must be open to interpretation, calibratable, open to supporting ideas that serve the broader idea.
  2. It must be alive – some people have already baked their thoughts and are looking for people that will fall in line in something that they have determined as the only solution. They see themselves as architects of solutions and all they need are couriers and carriers of activities. The truth is that when you bake something, you are placing it in an unnatural place of high heat, everything alive in it is activated, creates the necessary reactions, and then devalues itself and dies! Ideas are not meant to do this!
  3. Have and pass a litmus test – an idea that comes with the “I have lived it and know the solution attitude” is a failure in the making – the test is embedded in the attitude, so in this case the litmus test would simply be, “if you have lived it, then fix it, if you cannot fix it, then you do not completely understand it, in spite of your lived experience”. You see the way each person lived a situation is reasonably unique because life is complex. Einstein said that no problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.
  4. It must be multifaceted in balance – good ideas must be pairable with good methodologies, good practices, good resources to create something fresh and viable. When someone wants you to append your name, resources, and time to their idea, consider the framework in which it dwells, does it have the balanced structure to uphold the idea sustainably? 
  5. If you accept a non-living idea; one that is fully baked – It must support other living metrics. For example, we may bake a fruit cake base and fill it with loads of fresh fruit and fresh creams and sauces etc. things that are nourishing and alive, the baked good becomes the support to the cake’s robust architecture – In a fully baked idea, you must be able to gape into the mutuality of benefit in the idea to see if it supports other things that are alive. For example, financials, stability, an opportunity to hone a skill, basically the baked idea must be strong enough to support the architecture of other important living and desirable metrics. Anything less than this is a half-baked idea that requires others to fall in line, stress, and work on the behalf of the owner of the idea! This is never healthy, while the idea owner might get the accolades of “good, nice, kind etc.”, half-baked ideas float on, minimally invasive and maximally evasive in their impact!

What is good and nice is an idea that encapsulates a cause that changes lives, makes a difference, accentuates positives and deters negatives, a cause that can be big or small, that is sustainable and can accommodate many moving parts of life’s complexities etc., however such an idea must be flexible and possess the pre-identified characteristics. 

We have too many “idea leaders who loathe the ideation process” their mantra being I want to partner with you if you don’t change anything I have done, you do it exactly as I have dictated it, you allow it look exactly like I designed it, your expertise and resources must be applied in exactly the way I have planned it. You are to engage just to serve a predetermined need, methodology and thought process, in essence they want to control you within the idea universe”. The truth is that when it is said and done, they want it recognizable as their original idea, so that the credit is fully theirs! That is not mutual partnership, that my friend is self-idealism from which you must run, run, run…….

Now on to some bonus points to bring it all home……

When fixing a faucet, placing the spout’s O-ring slightly off center will cause the faucet to fail even when other parts are placed correctly, no matter how much you adjust the faucet lever, the outcome stays the same – failure! Until you reopen the entire faucet assembly and adjust that seemingly insignificant O-ring and orient it correctly. As soon as you do that, the faucet works flawlessly. This is exactly how ideas are, even the best ideas need micro and macro adjustments to ensure they work flawlessly and achieve results that sustainable and broad! When the idea comes fully baked and untouchable, the idea arrowhead is hardened, incapable of listening or hearing, it is all about the idea holder and none about you; so you must run, run, and never turn…………

There are 4 parts to Idea leadership that are crucial

Ideas must be governed by principles – Principles that are not grounded in personality but in practice! In manufacturing the Good Manufacturing Practice, provides a set of universal guiding principles to do make products well consistently – For Ideations, key principles ensure that things are done well using a process of checks and balances!

Ideation does not equal leadership originality – There are very few original ideas – very few ideas are radical and wholly new. Ideas are embedded in what we know, experience or are exposed to. How many times do you hear of a new idea and say, “oh my, I had that idea some time ago!” If you bring many technical people together that know the same things, they will have similar ideas if they have been exposed to the same technologies even when separated by continents and cultures; they will craft solutions that are uncannily alike!

Execution is the difference maker – the ability to compel someone to step out, believe and do! The impetus to do something well with expertise, to bring their resources to bear, their time, their hearts and desires, that is where ideation leadership really rests. When you shepherd the heart of another into something that was not originally theirs! The reason why that is so important, and so beautiful and so big is because that person caught the vision, they caught it on their own terms, not the terms of the original ideator! This is partnership at its utmost! If they get the vision on your terms, they cease to become partners but employees! The most empowered people are those that get the vision on their own terms!

Control, ultimate control is a delicate thing – the more you give away pieces of it the more you retain it. But people think the opposite that the more you hold on to the more you have control, but no, the more you hold and pull on it, the likelihood you will lose it. Control is elastic, if you hold on to it too tight or pull on it too hard you will break it. Instead, what you do, is you stretch it a little gently in different places, you massage it a little so that its elasticity is retained while its reach expands! That is how you get good control. Good ideas must have this characteristics, good idea leaders must practice this to win!

Be careful who you engage, it might only be a waste of your time; when they seek your participation not your heart, when they seek your time not your expertise, when they seek your resources not your enablement or benefit; then you must run, run, run, and never turn…….

About Ngozi Bell

Inspiration, Hard Work, Innovation. These three foundational elements anchor Ngozi’s core belief that manifesting the extraordinary is always within reach. Inspired by her mother A.C.Obikwere, a scientist and author, she learned the privilege of living at the edge of important encounters and dedicating herself to robust and perpetual learning. Ngozi’s background is a combination of Physics, Engineering, Venture Capital/Private Equity, regulations, and business where she has managed over $1B in cumulative revenue. Ngozi is a speaker, storyteller, and writer on a diverse set of topics including AI, iDLT, ML, Signal Processing, iOT, women, entrepreneurship and more. She contributes regularly to VOA, has been a TEDx speaker and is published on tech and non-tech platforms. She is a champion of STEM, women, youth, art and the Africa we must engage. Ngozi is an adjunct professor of Physics and management with work

experience in Asia, Europe, Africa, Middle East, and North America. She is a founder of a number of a number of enterprises and host of the podcast Stem, Stocks and Stews (