Turn Your Great Idea into the Next Big Thing


Author: Peter Gloor
Pub Date: July 2010
Print Edition: $29.95
Print ISBN: 9780814413869
Page Count: 240
Format: Hardback
e-Book ISBN: 9780814413876

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How Do You Turn a

Cool Idea into a Trend?

As special as Steve is, I think of Apple as a great jazz orchestra. Steve did a superb job of

recruiting a broad and deep talent base. When a group gets to be that size, the conductor’s

job is pretty nominal—mainly attracting new talent and helping maintain the tempo,

adding bits of energy here and there.1

—Michael Hawley, professional pianist/computer scientist/former Apple employee

WHY IS IT that Apple products are cool? Why is Steve Jobs cool?

What if you could become cool, too? And what if you could make

your own ideas cool? What if you could even turn them into the next

big thing?

The good news is, there are indeed steps you can take to be cool,

and to convert your ideas into a cool trend. This book addresses

the basic questions of what the magic of cool is. It shows you how

to “coolfarm” your ideas, how to make trends cool, and how to

become cool yourself. Coolfarming tells how to convert creative

dreams into cool products by enlisting the help of dedicated and

passionate collaborators. Coolfarming is about how to get the “next

big idea” off the ground.

So what is it that makes things cool? Cool things have four


1. Cool things need to be fresh and new.We don’t want yesterday’s

stale old ideas, but radically new and better ones. Apple is cool,

Microsoft is not. Why? Apple has a unique knack for repeatedly coming

up with beautiful new product concepts and designs that usher in

new markets, first in computers with the Macintosh, then in digital

music players with the iPod, and then in mobile phones with the

iPhone. Microsoft has grown bigger in size and may be more profitable

with its copycat strategy, but nobody has ever accused it of

being cool—that’s reserved for creators of radically new things.

Microsoft’s technology does the job, but it’s clunky, arcane, and

clogged with features that nobody wants. Apple, on the other hand,

has consistently defined new markets with superbly designed, innovative


2. Cool things make us part of a community. They help us be with

people like us. As psychologists and sociologists have found out, if

given the chance, we want to be with as many people “like us” as possible—

the more the merrier. Why did two million people trek to

Washington’s National Mall for the inauguration of President Barack

Obama? Why did they stand in line for eight hours to personally

attend Obama’s swearing in and not just watch it on TV? Simple

answer: It was the chance to be part of something cool and new, to

witness change, jointly, with two million other like-minded souls.

Even something as simple as owning the latest iPhone or BlackBerry

makes the owner part of a community, a sister and brotherhood, with

the token of entry being the coolest of handsets.

3. Cool things are fun. Just owning an iPhone is fun, if only

because it is so well designed and looks so cool. Making calls and surfing

the Web on an iPhone is fun; playing music on an iPod is fun.

Going to a musical on Broadway is fun and relaxing. Drinking coffee

in Starbucks is fun, too, not the least because every Starbucks customer

is in good company with other people who are also enjoying a

good cup of coffee in a relaxing atmosphere. It’s not for nothing that

Starbucks carefully selects and trains its baristas to provide a superior

customer experience.

4. Finally, cool things give meaning to our life. Cool things make

people feel good and happier. Owning a cool thing can become a goal

all by itself, whether it is the new iPhone, the designer bag from

Adidas, or the car we always wanted. Of course, owning a cool thing

could also mean joining an activist group to fight global warming. For

many people the thing that gives meaning to their lives is making the

world a better place—the ultimate in cool.

Cool trends can only be created through the creativity of swarms.

My previous two books, Swarm Creativity (Oxford University Press,

2006) and Coolhunting (AMACOM, 2007), introduced the idea of

Collaborative Innovation Networks (COINs) and explained how to

coolhunt. Coolhunting is the art and skill of chasing down cool trends

by spotting the trendsetters collaborating in COINs. This book

makes the bold leap to “coolfarming,” explaining the steps that anybody

can take to make cool trends happen. Obviously COINs cannot

be mandated into action, and inventions cannot, by sheer force of

will, be turned into new trends. Nevertheless, there are steps that the

creator of a new idea or the enthusiastic very early adopter of a concept

can take to increase the odds of turning the cool new thing into,

indeed, a new trend.

The Four Steps of Coolfarming

This swarm-based innovation process happens in four steps:

STEP 1 The creator comes up with the cool idea.

STEP 2 The creator recruits additional members to form a

Collaborative Innovation Network (COIN).

STEP 3 The COIN grows into a Collaborative Learning

Network (CLN) by adding friends and family.

STEP 4 Outsiders join, forming a Collaborative Interest

Network (CIN).

These four steps establish the most efficient engine of innovation,

creating the innovations that continuously change our lives.

This book is written for creators and COIN members. If you are

looking for practical hands-on advice on how to carry your cool

ideas over the tipping point, converting them into real trends, this

book is for you.

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