Obviousness, it turns out, is a common and even important, part of the creative process for some of the best-known innovators, including Steve Jobs.

"When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while,” Steve Jobs told Wired in 1996. “That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.”

In times of clarity, your solutions may appear obvious; but in fact, it seems that way because your solution has all the parts of the question lining up and shedding light on a resolve. Therefore, 'obvious' answers aren’t visible to most people, partly because most people aren’t thinking about the question.

Ideas only come to those who recognize a problem and look for innovative solutions. Even Einstein couldn’t find a solution if he had the wrong question. You must have an enabling problem, one that allows imaginative solutions different from your original expectation, and seeing that problem requires much thought, especially when the answer seems obvious.

So, whether you’re considering the possibility of launching a startup or you want to create change within your organization, don’t procrastinate and go after that obvious idea.


Inspired by: Harvard Business Review - Don’t Give Up on a Great Idea Just Because It Seems Obvious, by Andrew Forman