I hear people claiming that their ideas need “soak time” or “percolation”. What happens during soak time? Do ideas really need to percolate?
I have some totally unscientific answers to your questions on soak time!
It’s not the idea that is soaking, it’s you. What if it’s not the idea that’s developing, it’s your willingness to accept it? It may be you or your team that needs to soak, not the idea itself. You need a little time to get used to, to summon up the courage, to do whatever you need to get emotionally ready for the idea.
If you soak too long, someone else gets it. Ideas are in the space, they are not yours. In her book “Big Magic”, Elizabeth Gilbert writes about a time she had an idea for a book, an arcane idea I may add. Ann Patchett unknowingly wrote a book with the exact same, arcane, plot. They traced the origin of the idea back to a friendly kiss they shared when they met for the first time a year earlier. Could the idea have passed through a kiss? That story gave me goosebumps. You don’t own your ideas, they are looking for a home and if you don’t give them one, someone else will.
Some ideas do need to incubate. Like little seedlings, some ideas just need a little food and water. It’s not just time, they need love and care. Note, there’s a difference between the concept of shelving it while it soaks and caring for it while it grows. Take good care of your idea and it will flourish.
How have you nurtured your ideas? Let us know!