We know that conversations help people find the ideas that lead to innovation. There are examples in every field of people coming together to talk about ideas and information and then going away to make change happen. While you might spend lots of time locked away alone to develop an idea, ideas are generated in connections and conversations.
Here are three things I think are critical if you want to have the kind of conversations that grow new and useful ideas:
- Listen more than you talk. The value is not in hearing your own ideas, but in allowing ideas to form as you connect with new ideas and new people.
- Engage difference. This means finding people you can't predict because you don't already know what and how they think.
- Follow your curiosity. Most people want to get to the point too quickly: if you want to have new thoughts, you won't recognize the "point" until later. Your curiosity is your best guide to generating something through conversation that you wouldn't find sitting alone at your computer.
I love good conversation and I love that my work includes developing events and structures which allow good conversations to happen.