You can’t connect the dots looking forwards, you can only connect them looking backwards.
Ideas are everywhere. Most people haven’t been trained to see them.How can you train yourself to see more ideas? Simply by collecting dots. What’s a dot? Experiences and learnings.
Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, famously said that “you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever”.
In order to come up with ideas, connecting dots from seemingly disparate and unrelated areas often helps us come up with the best ideas.
For example, during the 14th Century, the Medici family, an Italian banking family, brought together painters, sculptors, poets, philanthropists, scientists, philosophers, financiers, and architects, shaped historical eras of innovation, ultimately leading to the Renaissance.
So get interested in different things. Read about things you normally wouldn’t read about. Watch video sabout things you normally wouldn’t watch. Listen to music or podcasts you normally wouldn’t listen to. Go to places you normally wouldn’t go. The more different dots you can collect, the better you can connect them and the more novel your ideas will be later.
Deliveroo, for example, is a company that connected dots between food delviery and UBER’s ride sharing service. Today, it is worth over US$2 billion.
How might you connect dots to come up with breakthrough ideas?