Watch the TED talk here.
Ideas are cheap because they aren’t real. They’re intangible thoughts in our head.
The band OK Go, famous for their wildly creative music videos, described it does not feel like they created great ideas, but rather, they found them. Lead singer Damian showed a photo of his childhood bedroom filled with posters, articles, artworks and notes on the walls. He spent a large amount of time in his bedroom, switching between opened eyes, lining up random objects to see if they turn into something interesting.
Opposing to creating ideas, finding ideas is a search for surprise and unexpected outcome by intertwining, perplexing and combining existing ingredients. Since the ingredients are real, your ideas become a little more real and a little more valuable.
The real work of finding great ideas then comes down to getting your hands dirty, filling up walls with doodles, useless side projects, knowledge that doesn’t fit the band-wagon and keep peeking, hoping a few of them would line up.
Creating great ideas out of thin air is hard and cheap. Finding great ideas is hardwork and expensive (in terms of time, effort and sometimes, money). Yet, in most cases, that almost always turns out to be a worthy investment if you follow through with it.
P.s. Also, their Mathimatical explaination of now often projects fail is a big revelation.