On Thursday night, I went to a “Choose Yourself” meetup, which was titled as an “Idea Mixer”. The point is to come up with ideas – ideas are the new currency – and take one idea and combine it with another idea, until you have a completely new idea baby.

We broke into groups as a team exercise, and the 8 people I was with had this conversation:

“Let’s come up with an idea to improve New York. It’s already awesome, but it could be more awesome.”
“”What about the subway?”
“What about walking?”
“New Yorkers walk more than people in other places. In ‘The Blue Zone’ book, the author says New Yorkers live longer because they walk.”
“I just started reading that book.”
“What would make New Yorkers walk more?”
“They would need to see a reason to.”
“HopStop does that. If you take the train, that’s one option. If you walk, it shows the carbon footprint you’re avoiding.”
“What if we incentivized people to walk instead of taking the subway?”
“Why not give $.50 in subway credit for every 2 miles walked?”
“I notice people who aren’t from here are scared to walk, even if they’re going somewhere close.”
“That’s true. I had a friend visit midtown, and I told him a great restaurant on 51st. He didn’t go because, I found out later, he was too scared to walk.”
“What if he had a guide? What if someone showed up and walked him there?”
“Like Uber?”
“Like Uber, for walkers.”
“Someone would just be nearby, and they’d come and escort you to your destination.”
“How would you know if the guide was trustworthy?”
“We could use a ratings system.”
“Uber for walkers.”
“How could we tie fashion into it?”
“New Yorkers don’t want to stop to talk about fashion.”
“What if they could see who was nearby that could help them make fashion choices?”
“If I was in a dressing room, I’d want to get a 2nd opinion.”
“The sales person in the store just tells you it looks good no matter what.”
“I wish I could help people shop at Trader Joe’s.”
“Did you see the guy who is buying Trader Joe’s food in California? You should look him up.”
“People need help making food choices.”
“What if you had someone walking around with you, telling you what ingredients to buy for making healthy recepies?
“How does that fit in with the walking idea?”
“What if we had an app that did all of that?”
“But shouldn’t we focus on just one thing? And be known for that thing? Uber just does rides.”
“Why would people need a fashion expert so quickly?”
“If I was going out on a Saturday night and I needed advice on putting an outfit together, I’d ask someone to meet me at Express.”
“I’d love to do this to help people in the gym.”
“I’d pay for people to spot me.”
“That’s what a personal trainer is.”
“The app should be a concierge for all these things.”
“What about Facetime? You could take a picture of yourself wearing an outfit and send it to the fashion expert.”
“What is this product? Is it an app?”
“It’s definitely an app.”
“Everyone has smartphones.”
“What should we call this app?”
“What about Conyct? It’s has NYC right in the middle.”
“We can expand this eventually, to other cities.”
“San Francisco would want this. Would we change the name for them?”
“New York is a brand in itself.”
“Or we could keep it NYC exclusive. It adds to New York’s value proposition.”
“What if we franchised it to other cities? We could show them how to do the roll-out.”
“Do we actually want to do this? What’s the next step?”
“Are all you guys on Facebook? Why not start a Facebook group?”
“Are any of you coders?”
“We can just outsource that part.”

I knew we were on to a genius idea 2 minutes in. The other 12 minutes was only improving things.

That’s the thing about ideas. If you get in a room with the right people, under the right circumstances, the ideas start flowing – but more importantly, they start improving. That’s what happened here. Even writing this, I’m coming up with ideas to improve the idea.

One of my friends is a DJ. He told me how they get together and someone plays a beat and they all go around in a circle, playing music that matches that beat and transitioning the songs.

This is the same thing, but you’re taking a sliver of an idea and putting it together with another sliver of an idea. That creates a new idea. It’s idea creation. Babies are wonderful because 2 people created them together. That’s a beautiful thing. Idea babies are the product of those ideas mixing together.

Get some people together who like ideas. Start with a sliver of an idea. And watch what happens.