How to Keep Your Ideas Alive: The Story of WD-40

Ideas, like people, are born and can die. Unlike people, ideas don’t face inevitable demise. Online collaboration tools are a life saver for good ideas. But before we get to the importance of online collaboration tools, let’s take a look at why it’s so important to keep your ideas from dying before their time.

Sadly, most of the ideas that come in and out of our heads do die. The constant “death cycle” of ideas is a loss for innovators and the general public. Think about it. How many of your “deceased” ideas represent untapped potential? Even an idea that doesn’t look like a clear winner can be lead to an important innovation.

Keeping an Idea Alive Through Team Collaboration: The Invention of WD-40

Let me give you an example of a “loser idea” that was thankfully not killed: WD-40. Invented in 1953, his lubricant makes countless heavy doors swing open effortlessly without getting stuck. It helps a multitude of mechanical devices to operate smoothly without corroding or seizing. Out cars, elevators, bicycles, and myriad other machines would function more poorly without WD-40.

Instead, Larsen and his assistants worked together to advocate for their idea of the perfect water-displacing (“WD”) lubricant. They nurtured their idea, allowing it to survive 39 failed attempts at implementation.

Do you know why it’s called WD-40? Because WD-40 marked a laboratory’s 40th attempt to create the perfect anti-corrosive lubricant! Fortunately for all of us who have benefited from WD-40 in some way, inventor Norman Larsen and his team at the Rocket Chemical Company didn’t let their idea die. Instead, Larsen and his assistants worked together to advocate for their idea of the perfect water-displacing (“WD”) lubricant. They nurtured their idea, allowing it to survive 39 failed attempts at implementation.

Today, WD-40 is a household name. Inventor Norman Larsen passed away in 1970, but his ideas may remain with us for another century, maybe more.

Use Online Collaboration Tools to Duplicate Norman Larsen’s Success

Right now, you may be thinking “So what?” Odds are that you do not manage a corporate laboratory. And it’s likely that and aren’t flanked by lab loyal assistants and company managers who are determined to keep your ideas alive.

So you might wonder how on earth Norman Larsen’s story applies to you. How can you use teamwork to give your ideas longevity and health? The truth is, you have something that Norman Larsen never did. You have the Internet.

The Internet is a place where you can build your own team. In the information age, inventors no longer have to wait for their own personal Rocket Chemical Company to hire them and help them keep their ideas alive.

Of course, going onto the Internet and building your own team is easier said than done. How can you share an idea on Facebook, for example, when everyone else is there to share photos of their meals and clips of their favorite TV shows? For that matter, is it really possible to share a new invention in just 140 characters on Twitter? And even if you could figure out how to do that, how can you locate the people on Twitter who will care about your idea?

This is where Zillable comes in. We’re a network for ideas, not for “social” personal musings. Zillable’s online collaboration tools help you find like-minded innovators so that your ideas can get the collaborative TLC they need. Sign up today!

Advertisements

One thought on “How to Keep Your Ideas Alive: The Story of WD-40

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s