Graham Crackers and Homemade Chocolate Frosting

My mom always made homemade cakes for our birthdays when we were growing up. There were eight kids so that was a lot of birthdays and a lot of cakes. She usually had some frosting left over and my sister would pull out the graham crackers and dip them in the leftover frosting. What a treat!! If we'd been little entrepreneurs at the time we would have developed Dunkaroos - packages of cookies and frosting for dipping - but Betty Crocker beat us to it.

I have a journal that a friend gave me years ago with a note to write down all of the creative ideas I have. There are now hundreds of ideas on those pages. I occasionally go back through the book and am amazed how many ideas have already been produced by someone else - like the card holder for little kids' hands, the puppy carrier that straps on your chest and the beach lounger with a built in book holder. One friend once suggested to me that I write down all of my ideas in a book and publish it - All the Ideas I Never Had Time to Work On - and let other people run with them. That idea is still on the list.

We have so many ideas for new products or processes for the corporate environment or our personal lives that stay stuck in a journal or a folder or in our head. Why do they stay stuck there? The reasons are as numerous as the ideas. We may have thought at the time that the idea didn't have any merit so we put it aside. Possibly, we wanted time to develop it a little further before we shared it and we never found the time to reflect on it. Maybe we were afraid to speak up because we aren't comfortable bringing ideas to high level people at work that can give the go ahead? And what happened? Someone else came up with the idea later and ran with it, improved the work environment or processes immensely and now they are in the position we wanted to be. (Or with household products or games - maybe they are now a millionaire advertising their idea on the Home Shopping Network!).

What do you do with the ideas that pop into your head? How do you determine if they deserve your time and attention? How do you prioritize when you will address them? What one thing will you do going forward to make sure your ideas are heard and given the opportunity to thrive?