A Lesson in Recycled Ideas

Math chalkboarPhoto credit: cleong on Flickr.

For those of you who are still students or have school-age children, you are most likely taking some time off to relax in the summer sun (or, at least, you’re wishing that you were.)

If this is the case, the classroom is probably one of the last things that you want to think about.

However, that is exactly what I am about to ask you to do.

Next month, many students will be heading back to classes all over the country.

The new academic year brings with it the opportunity for students to talk with old friends, meet new people, share the latest gossip and possibly start new romantic relationships. It also brings with it new challenges in the classroom.

In each class that they will take, students will hopefully be introduced to ideas that will help prepare them for the rest of their lives.

If you look at what students will be taught, many of the lessons that they will learn in the classroom are not new at all. In fact, many of the concepts that they will be taught are the same ones that their parents and grandparents learned when they attended school.

However, these ideas will be introduced to the students for the first time.

Making Something Old, New Again

I feel that introducing old ideas to new audiences is a very useful concept to keep in mind, no matter what your chosen profession is.

I first wrote about this in a post on my Tumblr blog, earlier this year. In the post, I pointed out that movies borrow ideas from other movies and give them a new creative spin. I also briefly talked about how ad agencies use ideas from pop culture to sell products to consumers.

And, as I mention in the post, this concept can be useful in other professions, as well.

Here is the final paragraph from that post:

“While original ideas should be valued, they are not [always] required. If you can put a new twist on an old idea, you can give new life to that idea. Furthermore, as the audience changes, the original idea can be reintroduced for the first time. It pays to look at what worked in the past to see if you can make something old, new again.”

I added the word “always” this time around, because there are times where original thought is required. NASA’s space race with the Soviet Union is a perfect example of how sometimes new things need to be invented in order to achieve a goal.

However, we don’t always need to reinvent the wheel to get to where we want to go.

It is often useful to learn from the people who have gone before us. That, after all, is what education is all about.

In the future, I plan to blog about products and situations that illustrate this point.

But, for now, I just wanted to get you thinking about the concept and how it might be useful to you in your business.

Some people reading this post might say that I am stating the obvious. However, I have learned that sometimes it pays to state the obvious, as the obvious is not always that obvious.

With that said, enjoy your weekend. Class dismissed.

Chad Thiele

Chad Thiele

Marketing analyst and strategist, content curator, applied sociologist, proud UW-Madison alumnus, and an Auburn-trained mobile marketer. My goal is to help businesses identify trends that will help them achieve their marketing objectives and business goals. I'm currently looking for my next career challenge. Please feel free to contact me anytime at: chadjthiele@gmail.com.