The Necessity of Sharing Ideas

Hovanec web.jpgWhile traveling from chapter to chapter this year, one of the things I’ve always looked out for is new and innovative ideas. We all have them, and sharing those ideas is a great way to network with other IEC members. The proof can be found every year at the IEC National Convention. The Great Idea Swap session at IEC Con is always the highest attended education session, often with standing room only.

Ideas are what have made this country what it is today. Titans in the electrical industry, Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, and George Westinghouse all started with ideas. By sharing their ideas, they not only built successful companies but they also advanced our civilization tenfold. Just imagine what our country would look like if Edison, Tesla, and Westinghouse did not share their ideas with the world.

Building a successful business does not just happen. Much like our predecessors, our businesses are built on ideas. And yes, failed ideas can be a hard lesson to swallow, but those failures also contribute to making us stronger and more determined.

There are many benefits that can come from sharing ideas with your peers. I have heard contractors say, “Why would I share an idea with my competitor?” The obvious reason is to make them better. I always want to be better at what I do and improve who I am. There is no reward in retaining knowledge and never sharing it.

Every time I share an idea it leads to a discussion, and I learn something as well. What I learn I then apply to my company, which inevitably leads to greater efficiency that can be added to the bottom line.

You may have an idea that is basically sound but there is something missing, preventing you from implementing it in your company. It is difficult to think of every angle, but by sharing and discussing your idea with others you may discover the missing piece that you had not thought of. 

The more minds that come together and share ideas the easier it is to come up with new solutions for technical – and even governmental – issues we all face.

Ideas are not currency and are not meant to be held on to; they should be implemented and shared. Ideas come and go, and it is likely that in time someone else will have the same idea. Also, networking ideas is often more resourceful and valuable than just one idea. Connecting with your peers is what makes innovation come to life.

You should never be afraid to openly share your ideas with others. Once you start doing this, you’ll find that the world begins opening up to you in new and innovative ways.

It only takes one small idea that could pay for your entire trip to IEC Con once implemented in your company.

Whether a business is large or small, there are always new challenges to face that require new solutions. That is what the Great Idea Swap is all about: sharing ideas and solutions to help each other succeed in an ever-changing business environment.

New and changing technology, codes, and regulations can be challenging for any business or IEC chapter to deal with. Sharing successes and failures dealing with those challenges will make the entire IEC network stronger and more desirable an association for others to belong to. 

Real opportunity starts within each of us as individuals. Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse, and a host of others all worked hard and succeeded in advancing the electrical industry. 

Never be afraid to share your ideas, even if at first rejected. It could be that your idea is ahead of the curve and in time could be the next best innovation in the industry. 

Joseph Hovanec Jr. is IEC’s 2016 National President. As the principal elected officer of the association, Hovanec serves as the National Chair to the Board of Directors, House of Delegates, and Executive Committee. Hovanec is the president of Advanced Electric Design & Service in Rahway, New Jersey. With a career that spans over 35 years in the electrical industry,