In focus: How to turn an idea into reality

If you have a great idea, what should you do with it? How can you overcome the barriers, accelerate it and turn it into something that really works?

There are more opportunities now, than at any other point in time, for you to make something of your ideas. Funding businesses, releasing albums, travelling the world – these actions used to be reserved for a very select few.

Thankfully that is no longer the case, as we have witnessed a democratisation of ideas. Innovations such as social media, crowdfunding, the sharing economy, accelerator projects and the advent of intrapreneurship now mean nothing is off limits. While a consequence of this is increased competition, the opportunities are now endless. Throughout this series we will speak to those who have been there and done it, look at how you can turn your idea into a reality and assess the trends that will be shaping our ideas in years to come.

Alternatively, check out the best from our previous In focus series…

Richard Branson: The power of ideas

The Virgin Founder explains that any idea can be a great idea, if you think differently, dream big, and commit to seeing it realised... 

Where did the ideas behind Virgin Hotels come from?

The design of Virgin Hotels Chicago has been widely praised for bringing something new to the industry and offering guests an alternative to the traditional hotel experience. But where do the ideas for a new business come from? We caught up with CEO Raul Leal to find out more about how their ideas were conceived and developed...

Ideas on a shoestring: Thinking like a major on an indie budget

There are a lot of tales of the music industry of old – primarily involving insane money. Bands signing ludicrously large advances before being dropped after two singles with nothing but boxes of unsold seven inches and a bill the size of a small house to show for it. You know as well as I do that it’s not like that anymore.

Three ways to know if the time is right for your business idea

When it comes to big ideas, timing is everything. Sidecar Founder, Sunil Paul, explains how you'll know when the time is right to run with your idea...

Is Silicon Valley running out of ideas?

In September 2014, Twitter was suddenly full of people declaring that Silicon Valley had run out of ideas. The start-up boom was over. It was time for entrepreneurs to pack up their things and go home. The cause? A start-up called Alfred Club winning the TechCrunch Disrupt competition.

Five ways to make your idea happen in the music industry

Got an idea for a music start-up but not sure where to begin? Soundcheque Founder Laura Westcott hands out some advice on how to turn it into a reality...

These are the first five people you should tell your business idea to

Friends and family are typically the first people you turn to for advice. It’s no different when you have a great idea for a new business or product. You’ll naturally test an idea with loved ones in order to gauge if it could be a success...

How the digital revolution put the 'I' into idea

Welcome to the age of the 'solopreneur', where individuals can run with their ideas alone. Thanks to the digital revolution, we can now turn to a virtual workforce and marketplace to find and sell skills. And with innovation and tech know-how, the internet is our fast-track vehicle to success...

Online censorship: What does the future hold for our ideas?

The Internet has revolutionised the way ideas – both good and bad - are conceived, adopted and accelerated. But what does the new age of online censorship mean for our ability to speak freely and share ideas?

How we came up with our big idea: Crowdcube

The introduction of crowdfunding into the start-up market has enabled ideas to flourish like never before. But how was the idea of equity crowdfunding born and what does it teach us about the development of our own ideas?

Nine entrepreneurs explain how to make your ideas work

Ever wondered how the brightest start-ups and small businesses in the UK have been able to take their business idea and make it a success? It’s all well and good having a great idea, but how can you bring it to fruition?

Getting your idea in the charts for cheap: The power of YouTube

YouTube musicians are now so popular that they've arguably become their own sub-genre. As of Feb 2014, 55% of the US population were using YouTube to listen to music. Which goes to show, you don't need a record deal or financial backing to turn your musical ideas into reality...

Developing ideas: How Google Science Fair makes young people's ideas happen

Google Science Fair was launched in 2011 in order to increase access to education and offer students around the world the opportunity to pursue their curiosity and foster their interest in science. But why does Google think that it’s important to support young people and their ideas?

How to turn a business idea into a money-spinner

According to US innovation guru Mark Payne, the ideas failure rate is around 90%, and as someone who has made a living out of helping organisations work out why their ideas have failed and how to make them work, he should know.

Five ways to make your ideas go international

Last year I flew 42 times, visited five continents, 22 countries and worked at 28 companies. All of that happened because I made my idea fly. How did I do it? Let me tell you my story and show you how...

Do people in their twenties come up with the best ideas?

Your twenties are the ‘golden years’ for coming up with brilliant business ideas, according to new researchcommissioned by Virgin and carried out by YouGov…

Infographic: How business ideas come to life

Have you ever had a great idea? If you think the answer is yes, then it turns out you're firmly in the minority. We asked the British public about their seemingly uneasy relationship with ideas...

New research: The barriers that prevent an idea becoming a business

A lack of funding, self-belief and free time are the top three things that stop people turning their ideas into reality, according to new research commissioned by Virgin and carried out by YouGov...

One man builds: Amazing buildings built solo

Some of the most amazing sights around the world have taken hundreds of years to complete, with hundreds of people's help. But how far can you take an idea on your own?

Why an idea is no longer enough in business

An idea is no longer enough. Today, you need to turn an idea into something tangible if you ever want to get the support needed to turn it into a business. 

How can a business create an 'ideas environment'?

Today, ‘fast-growth’, ‘disruptive’ and ‘innovative’ are the go to buzzwords against which we value success. Everyone is chasing the next big thing, and our business environment is adapting at pace in order to foster creativity and cultivate new ideas.

Devloping ideas: The app that turns young people's ideas into reality

Young people sometimes have the best ideas but don't have the means to make them a reality. Enter Ideas Britain, a new app designed to help young people get their ideas off the ground.

Great ideas: Is imagination more important than knowledge?

From Alexander the Great to Napoleon, Plato to Spinoza, Issac Newton to Albert Einstein and Henry Ford to Steve Jobs… ideas are the seed of all achievement.

Does boredom lead to great ideas?

In the age of the internet, boredom is fast becoming a thing of the past. We are constantly connected and our minds have no opportunity to wander, but is that affecting our ability to come up with ideas?

10 lessons on developing ideas from Shubham Banerjee

13 year old Shubham Banerjee, the boy behind a revolutionary Braille printer made from Lego, recently shot to fame as one of Silicon Valley’s youngest ever founders. But what does his story tell us about how to develop an idea?

Three quick tips for creative thinking

If you’re ever faced with an intractable problem or need to find a new perspective, here are some tools that will help you think bigger...

Why every business should give staff 'dabble time'

Entrepreneurs live for those Eureka moments that spark their next big business idea. But the most successful entrepreneurs thrive on seeing those around them, colleagues and employees, experiencing those light bulb moments…

How can you get people to believe in your business idea?

Arnold du Toit is a qualified design engineer, with a passion for engineering and golf. He is also the man behind RolleyGolf. We caught up with the inventor to gain some insight on how he developed his winning idea…

Better ideas with Dr NakaMats

Yoshiro Nakamatsu, or Dr NakaMats as he is more widely known, is one of the world's leading inventors with over 3,500 patents to his name. We sat down with the cult hero to find out how we can all come up with better ideas…

Developing ideas: How to turn a young person's idea into a business

Young people often come up with brilliant ideas, but they're also the most likely group to be put off from pursuing them. Fortunately, there are organisations out there dedicated to working with young people to develop their ideas and make them a reality…

Ideas on a budget: How to fund an album

For musicians wanting to record an album, there can be a serious amount of work involved before they even step foot inside a studio. Raising the money to fund such a process can be a time-consuming and stressful experience. Here's how you can steer clear of the bank and make the album you always wanted to...

Five ways to test your business idea for free

With so many resources ready to welcome you with open arms, there’s nothing to stop you turning your great idea into a successful business...

How to break down the barriers and allow intrapreneurs to flourish

Getting those inside yopur company to buy into your ideas can be tricky, here's a handy guide to overcoming the barriers that lay in wait...

Five lessons I've learnt from dropping out of school to pursue an idea

Young entrepreneur James Anderson reflects on the lessons he learnt chasing his winning idea...

Listen to your employees’ ideas

Richard Branson: Every single person on Earth has the potential to come up with a million dollar idea, but the reason not everyone finds success is because most people don’t know what to do with their ideas. 

Want to develop a winning idea? Nurture your fickleness

Be fickle. It’s a quality that you might not associate with great ideas or entrepreneurial triumph. But this might be a good time to review that.

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