Summary: The Idea In You

Inspirational and practical.

The Idea in You Book Cover


You don’t need to be special to make your idea happen. You just need to care about your idea, be armed with a few simple tools and techniques – and be prepared to put one foot in front of the other through thick and thin.

From the back cover

Do you have an idea in you?A hobby, a project, a product… Something that could change your life?

The Idea in You is a bulletproof system for finding the right idea and shaping it into a success – on your own terms… It will show you how to think and what to do when launching your own venture.

Making your idea happen is possible – and it will be one of the most inspiring and energising experiences of your life. What are you waiting for?


  1. Whenever you are thinking about something you want to do, you just do it, do it now. Not later on this evening, or tomorrow or at the weekend. Now. Switch from weighing up your options into taking action, deliberately and immediately. Without the simple act of doing (even if it’s only for five minutes), you’re not making the idea in you happen.
  2. Your mind is your most important tool as you work on your idea – more important than any computer, shop or screwdriver. If it is creating positive thoughts and resisting negative ones, you will be able to create something incredible.
  3. Every idea starts out small. Small is how everything begins. The good news is that we can all start something small. It doesn’t need money, experience or expertise. It doesn’t need an audience, a shop or a platform. You only need to be bringing ideas into your life, have the self-knowledge to know which to jump on, and to be ready to put a boatload of energy into it.
  4. Write down your idea. Doing so will give you some clarity and make the idea concrete enough to think through. In particular you need to answer four questions: what’s it called; what need does it serve; how does it work; and what benefits does it deliver to people.
  5. You might be uncertain what your idea will become, or even where you should start – these will come later – but you need a fire in your belly. Commit to your journey. Whatever it holds.
  6. Build your Version Zero – aka a minimum viable product, or soft-launch, or beta version. It could be a dish, a prototype, a sales pitch, a website… whatever… get it made and get it out into the world into the hands of people (even if it’s rough around the edges) to see how people react to it.
  7. Write down what outrageous success looks like to you.
  8. Focus on getting fans, not money. Set yourself the goal of getting 2,000 fans. And that starts with getting one.
  9. Have an apprentice attitude – you’re always learning.
  10. Besides making money, what is your idea’s reason for being?
  11. Don’t be afraid to inject your values into your idea.
  12. Set yourself the goal of developing your resilience.
  13. One of the fastest ways to bring your idea into reality is to help others. Give freely. Accept help. Reach out to others to ask for – and offer – support. Make positive connections.

Chapter summaries


  • We have all experienced the rush of having a great, life-changing idea. It may be a new business, a project, a revolutionary app or some other goal that is meaningful to us.
  • After the initial euphoria, doubts creep in: how do we start? What if someone else is doing it already? Where do I find the money? Can I leave my job?.. And so on. We start to see barriers and gradually the idea is not so appealing anymore.
  • We convince ourselves that our idea is unworkable, that life isn’t too bad and we should settle back into the routine we have (even if we hate it).
  • We are all creators. We want to make/achieve things that could change the world, make a positive difference, change our lives and make us happy.
  • You may not feel you have the skills, the temperament, the knowledge – whatever story you’ve told yourself – to create something significant of your own. This book disagrees and gives you a roadmap to bring the idea in you to life.

Getting your head straight

  • If you have your thinking working for you, good things will occur.
  • Your brain generalises and distorts events, creating fear.
  • You don’t have to believe or act on unhelpful thoughts. You always have a choice.
  • You can focus on what you want rather than what you fear.
  • You can decide to think thoughts of outrageous success.

Finding your idea

  • Ideas rarely arrive with any clarity. They generally arrive unformed. Instead of certainty, they simply offer an invitation to explore which creators should heed.
  • Choosing an idea to pursue is like starting a relationship rather than picking a stock. You’ll hang out with it a lot and do things together to see if you are a good match.
  • Do something new every single day until your idea appears.
  • You don’t need to know where your idea will take you (Mark Zuckerberg didn’t know what Facebook would eventually become). You just have to develop the habit of creating. You need to have a playful optimism to explore new ideas, “That would be fun, let’s give it a whirl…” To be a creator, you have to believe it’s worth making stuff, even if – especially if – you don’t know where it will lead, just like Mark.

Landing your idea

  • The authors distinguish between a thought and an idea. A thought is a general goal: “Put a man on the moon” is a thought. An idea is HOW a thought will be achieved: “Give NASA the funds and political support to build the required skills and technology needed to put a man on the moon” is an idea.
  • Turn your idea into a concept by answering four questions:
    • What you idea is called
    • The need it meets for people
    • How it works in basic terms
    • The benefits people get from using it
  • You still don’t need a crystal clear idea at this stage. You idea will evolve over time anyway. “Get it written, don’t get it right”.


  • You need to commit to your journey, whatever it may hold for you.
  • Overnight success is a myth. Ideas only become successful when creators persist. It’s a journey of a million steps and if that seems too much like hard work, you need to come back when you are truly committed.
  • The most common reaction to your idea will be indifference. It’s important to surround yourself with people who understand the journey you’re on and who will support and encourage you.
  • Sooner or later you just have to start. Take a deep breath and take that first step into the unknown. And keep walking.
  • Remember, you’re a creator. Build your “Version Zero” – your prototype – and get it into the hands of people for their feedback.


  • If you let your imagination run wild and you think about experiencing outrageous success with your idea – what do you hope will come to pass?

Staying free

  • Right now, your ideas is as free as it will ever be. As soon as you look for outside money, you become indebted to others who may not share your vision or approach.
  • Learn to cut costs; earn before you spend; don’t spend to impress; do things yourself; don’t borrow money until you’re starting to get sales. Do all you can to minimise outgoings so you can stay independent for as long as possible, preferably always.
  • Focus on getting fans, not money. 2,000 fans is a good goal.


  • Learn to love learning. Solving problems, overcoming obstacles, being resourceful, making mistakes and learning lessons.
  • Be comfortable with not knowing. The journey will not always have answers. Where there are no answers, follow your hunches.

Working out your idea’s why

  • Beyond making money, what is the point of your idea? What do you hope the idea will do for you, for others, for the world? Why change is it going to create? Why is it important that it exists?

Be yourself

  • In trying to make your idea a reality, seek advice and model others but don’t lose sight of your beliefs, values and goals. This is your idea, your vision.
  • Rather than be an imitation of others, be a shining, authentic you.
  • Find your voice.
  • Choose who you will – and won’t – work with.
  • Infuse your values into every aspect of your business.

Never, ever give up

  • One of the most important skills you can learn to make your idea a reality – and for life in general – is resilience.
  • You grow your resilience by: being positive; seeing difficulties as turning points; serving a bigger purpose; building a support network; looking after yourself.

The economy of favours

  • Creators operate from a source of abundance. They believe in helping each other; that another person’s good fortune is their misfortune. There’s more than enough for everyone.
  • Help others for the sheer satisfaction of doing good.
  • The more we help others, the more others are willing to help us.
  • Support others with your words, time, skills and know-how.


  • Think and talk by all means to work out what you are going to do. But then – once you’ve finished talking – start doing!
  • When you have your thinking helping you, you can do anything you want. Anything at all.
  • By being in the habit of making, you put yourself in the way of ideas. And you will eventually create the thing that becomes something significant for you.
  • Whatever your idea… you need to get it out of your head – so you can get on and do it. You do this by writing it down.
  • You have to set out even though you are not completely ready, and even though you cannot be sure how things are going to turn out – because once your are on the road, everything changes.
  • Focus on getting people to love your idea rather than getting rich.
  • If you roll over, deciding that it is too hard and that you won’t ever be able to do it, you will not succeed. If you notice what’s going on, and choose to laugh at yourself and push on, you will – and gloriously.
  • why is probably the most powerful branding idea around… Having a clear why gives people a reason to support you. It turns your idea into an ideology.
  • Everything in life comes down to resilience.
  • When we assume abundance, we create space in our lives to help each other… We get the satisfaction of seeing the whole picture expand rather than just our small part of it.

About the author

Martin Amor led new product development programs and creative training programs for Mars, Telefonica, Unilever, Samsung, Shell and Kraft in his role as Inventing Director at leading global innovation consultancy ?What If! Now he helps businesses get better at innovation and develops his own ideas as an entrepreneur.

Alex Pellew is a former marketing head at Nike. He leads projects for ?What If! Innovation, and coaches and launches digital start-ups.

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