I have lots of ideas, all day long thoughts pop into my head, good ideas, bad ideas, ideas that are embarrassingly stupid, ideas that need to be left in the genie’s bottle and once in awhile, ideas that you know just need a little polish to become gems. The difference between all these ideas is that some are turned into action and others are left to float away into the ether.

The deciding factor? Filtering these ideas through my hard earned wisdom and the wisdom of my network. Exploring which of these multitudes of ideas will work and which will take me off target. Which ideas will take way too long to implement and which ones are Eureka! moments, gifts from the heavens? There are no guarantees, but self-trust, personal awareness and very candid friends go a long way in this filtering process.

I’ve been thinking alot about ideas and inventions because I just left a job where they are very concerned about the creation of ideas, claiming those ideas and protecting those ideas from others. The extreme opposite of open source or the very open principles of social media. In today’s world of Wiki and interconnectedness; pretty much a lost cause, but I digress.

When you work for someone else, in an ideal world, they have hired you for both your brilliant ideas and the accumulated wisdom to filter through those ideas. And for as long as that works well, you feel energized and excited to see your ideas come to fruition and deliver results. Clearly you are trading your ideas for resources that you do not have yourself, or you would do it yourself; maybe those resources are time, skills, money, energy or focus. You are trading your ideas for compensation instead.

The difficulty lies when your wisdom is no longer valued. While your ideas might still be harvested, your insight isn’t applied. You know that is the time to move on.

But ownership of those ideas? I would argue that once wisdom has left the building, ideas left behind have a very limited shelf-life. And as goes the wisdom, so goes the new ideas, which may look similar to those old gems, but are being created in the next moment, as with new experiences and insights come new inventions.