I heard a great advice a few years ago when I worked at the University of Leicester’s BDRA unit. The unit’s long term future was dependent on securing external research funding. We had an external consultant who acted as an advisor to the team. He offered us an advice which I have treasured ever since.
He said to the BDRA team when we were brainstorming possible research bid ideas in the meeting room “to always have a research bid idea in the back pocket”. He explained that having an idea in the back pocket helps you to be better prepared when a funding call eventually comes out. This is because you spend your time refining a prepared idea to fit the call rather than coming up with a fresh one in response to the call. The time window to get everything sorted when a call comes out till when it closes is usually short – a matter of weeks. The prep work done before the call is released gives the BDRA team an advantage over other research teams who develop ideas when the research call comes out rather than before it comes out.
I believe a variant of this advice also applies to people in non-research roles. The moral of this post is: always be prepared. You shouldn’t wait for an opportunity to come before you have an idea ready for it. You should get ready for tomorrow’s opportunities today.
Benjamin Disraeli, a former British Prime Minister, once said that “the secret of success is for a man to be ready for his time (opportunity) when it comes.”
I also like this quote by Julie Logan on the importance of keeping good ideas in your back pocket.
Good ideas take time to become great ideas. Keep every good idea in your back pocket. Work at it from time to time. Buy moleskines in bulk or be haut digital with Catch (app). Just jot everything down, however you prefer to do it. Build your creative rolodex. Collaborate and share ideas. And when doors open and the opportunity comes, make something great. (via Medium)
Do you have some good ideas in your back pocket?