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How do you define an idea? What is the criteria of an idea?

Would love to know :-)
Gerard Caulfield's profile photoAnton Strogonoff's profile photoDaniel Schildt's profile photo
Well I'm sure you though of checking the dictionary yourself, so I'll give you a definition of the top of my head, as I assume this is what you're looking for. "A previously unknown thought that the person hearing it thinks is noteworthy"

ps. I just posted "Can you think of an idea that isn't noteworthy?" to my twitter. =D I'll let you know if anything comes of it.
Idea is something that comes to the mind. It's totally different thing if the idea is worth the effort to actually do or if the idea is just plainly stupid.
+Gerard Caulfield Hmm, that's a good question. Depends on the situation as idea in itself can be just small one or require good amount of planning with combination of other ideas. As for one example, one friend once told that he had been wondering for way to solve very complicated technical problem for a longer time already and one night when he was awake at bed in the middle of night he got idea how things could be done. In a way, idea could be described as a result of wondering about things and a basis for actual actionable plan to do something real. Different thing is if the plan is actionable in the real life but the mere combination of thoughts could be called as an idea.

As for if the idea needs to be "new", it certainly does not need to be. It's just that world is full of ideas but not many of them will survive to the surface since for most of ideas there aren't anyone willing to use their time to actually do it. Also, as said more than few thousand years ago, there is nothing new under the sun. Most of the ideas are combination of previous knowledge or other ideas and while the amount of knowledge increases, the number of thrown away ideas does so too.
+Daniel Schildt Sorry when I said "previously unknown" I didn't mean "new". I meant previously unknown to the to the person with the thought. My mistake though, I should have been clear.

As for your first point I agree it doesn't have to be actionable, just noteworthy to the person hearing it, as I mentioned in my first post. I was more refering to your statement that "Idea is something that comes to the mind." and wondering how this is different from a thought.
Life is meant to wonder about wonders of life. ;)
My opinion is that while idea certainly does not need to be something that hadn't existed before, it should be new in the context.

I'd define the idea as ‘an application of existing knowledge that is fresh in given context.’

You can't have an idea out of nowhere: some base knowledge is required. Yet the knowledge itself can't be counted as idea. It's the application of this knowledge, the result of its (probably subconscious) interpretation by your brain.
Many different people can have the same kind of idea and still it can be original. It's often that the needs of people direct them forward to find some solutions that might take them to the results if they do enough of work to get things done.
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