Why “great” ideas need a reality check

He who has imagination without learning has wings but no feet.

One thing I always stress is that while bad ideas can lead to good ideas (and thus, should be captured), having ideas without first learning about the topic rarely leads to good ideas. You need to know the domain. Not only to avoid reinventing the wheel, or worse, commit plagiarism that can kill careers. Even more important is determining whether an idea is actually feasible in real life.

Thunderf00t recently made a video illustrating this point by completely dismantling a indiegogo campaign (he even makes suggestions for a better solution):

There’s no way around it, you need learning before you can invent. So if you want to be creative, pick something you are passionate about, something you are really interested in. You need to have the determination and persistence to really learn about it. And yup, learning is hard. But that’s just the thing with real interest — you continue learning about it even if it becomes hard to understand, or worse, boring. Because without this knowledge, you might have “great” ideas, but no way to reality test them. And you have to reality test them.

Einstein once said:

“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”

When you have Einstein’s knowledge, you can put imagination over knowledge.

But until you reach that level of knowledge, continue to learn.