The Idea Farmer

I hope people will not call me a thought leader. That’s scary… I want people to think for themselves. I'm an idea farmer.

I read because I love collecting other people’s good ideas.

I nurture those ideas. I water them with my attention, and I feed them with my thoughts.

And after some time and energy the ideas start sprouting offspring. I let them mix and mingle with each other; I let them connect, compete, cooperate, and copulate in the weirdest ways. Sometimes they make me blush.

But the offspring is worth all that trouble. I care for these little new ideas, and I try to make them healthy and strong.

I’m an idea farmer. I grow new ideas from older ones.

And when the new ideas are big and fully grown, I sell them.

Or when they’re still young and small, I give them away for free.

Like now.

(image by Nicholas_T)

Jurgen Appelo is an award-winning speaker, trainer, and author of Management 3.0, a management book for software development. You can hire him as a speaker or trainer, to add some spice to your discussions, workshops, or conferences.

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  • Geert Theys

    Don’t think it is more different as standing on the shoulders of giants:
    Off course you gave it a more modern phrasing 😉

  • rapsli

    Love it…. the Idea Farmer. This makes it appear as something physical and something you can actually work on to become better.

  • Joshua Lewis

    This concept resonates with me, well said!
    This also relates to the notion of bisociation (which I was exposed to as a concept in Pragmatic Thinking and Learning)

  • Paul King

    I like the association. It also reminds me of Stephen Covey’s words about natural systems. On a farm you can’t take shortcuts to try to produce a crop in half the time. You have to put in the hard yards, do all the right things and eventually reap the rewards.

  • Mohinder Khosla

    I like your approach of culturing ideas that grow into different sizes some for sale others given free. Cross pollination works with similar group of thoughts and not others but where it works results can be fantastics. Diversity helps bring cross discipline building block nurture into new disciplines and it is good feeling when that works.

  • Francois Michas

    Connecting to the human nature you’re seeding, plowing and then harvesting is quite a challenge (and a beautiful sticky image by the way)!
    Thank you very much for this very inspiring blog.
    I’m going to crop a few ideas through it and i’ll raise them as endearing children. Enventually they’re bound to leave home so you may hear about them and their cousin’s like questions.

  • Scott F

    I cringe at the title “Thought Leader”. I logically coherent system of thought can founder in the real world when it is founded on overly simplistic premises.
    There has never been a shortage of ideas. The problem has always been that most of these turn out to be weeds.

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