Steal These Ideas… Change the World

Steal These Ideas… Change the World
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Steal These Ideas… Change the World

Your next business might be in this post.  No kidding.

One thing I’ve learned over the years, is that the more I keep great ideas hidden — protecting, defending, and worrying about taking credit for them — the less impact I have in the world.

When I share frivolously.  When I open up.  When I give things away.  When I let go of control.  When I let go of ownership.

That is when amazing things happen.  Miracles happen.

  • People step up to make ideas happen faster than ever, collaborating like crazy.
  • People run with ideas that I’m not capable of dedicating time, money and energy to… and make them a glorious reality.
  • People critique ideas that actually didn’t have as much merit as I thought.

Starting a Blog, Speaking and Writing a Book

I was starting to feel really stingy two years ago, as if I had a lot to share but was expecting people to pay me for all the hard work I had put in over the years.

It was a terrible, very-separate feeling.  I didn’t like it.

So, even though it was difficult… and I felt like I was giving up potential coaching income…  I started a blog.

I started sharing any and all tips and tricks I had learned over the years leading sustainability projects and consulting for businesses.

I interviewed heroes of mine and shared their story with as many people as I could.

What happened?

  • I reached more people than I ever had with my ideas.
  • I was forced to put serious thought into them, to see if they were any good.
  • I got push-back and difficult comments and conversations… that sharpened my own thinking and feeling.
  • And I got really clear that I could make a bigger difference by not holding tight to my ideas.

Next, I started getting asked to speak at universities, conferences and workshops because followers liked what I had to share.  It was making a difference for them, and they wanted to share my message with their communities.

I set up a free email list auto-responder that delivered daily coaching emails to anyone who wanted them.

I wrote a basic PDF ebook that I could send via email to that same list.

Then, I met a young 21-year-old entrepreneur who taught me how to actually publish a book on Amazon to reach far more people at a very tiny price-point compared to coaching… which can feel expensive for the one-on-one attention.

When my new book launched, it had over 3,000 downloads in the first 5 days.  I literally reach 10 times as many people in 5 days as I had in 2 years of blogging.

It blew my mind!

I could make a huge impact if I would just keep sharing in bigger and bigger ways.


Today, I’m feeling stingy again.

I have tons of great ideas for projects and businesses that will literally change the world.

And I’m holding onto them tightly… like they are my next big paycheck, and I can’t give them away.

Yuck!  What a terrible feeling to not share them with you… and let you do what you want with them.

  1. Steal them… change the world without me
  2. Team up… reach out to me and say you want to co-own an idea and bring it to life with me
  3. Constructively criticize… tear an idea apart because you don’t think it will work

Steal These Ideas

Tiny Transitional Housing

  • Combine tiny-house design with co-housing for a transitional housing community that is along a bus route to a local business that offers job-training and resume-building skills to high-functioning homeless.  Create an affordable and environmentally-friendly bridge between the homeless shelter and a job and home.
  • 6 tiny homes around a central community space where social services can be delivered, but is located in a neighborhood away from the shelter.  You can create the business yourself and invest in the tiny-co-housing development as an employee-benefit program or find a business that already has their heart in the right place and wants to pull homeless people through the system an into society in a loving and purposeful way.

Carbon Local Program

  • No one understands carbon offsets, but they understand affordable housing issues locally.  Combine the Nature Conservancy’s carbon calculator with Habitat for Humanity affiliates and local solar installers to make a less technical but more practical off-set program people can understand.
  • Pick an average price per ton of carbon (let people know how it was chosen), then calculate a generic donation amount for local residents based on their use of the carbon-calculator.  They choose to donate to the program and receive a certificate that their donation went towards installing real solar panels on local Habitat homes for low-income families.  This reduces their monthly utility bills to zero, and increases the amount of renewable energy put into service.

Water Quality Network

  • Start a business that takes public water quality data that is hard-to-find and difficult-to-understand today, and visualize that data as layers on GoogleMaps for residents.  Let anyone type their address into a website and search a radius around their home to display the nearest bodies of water and most recent water quality tests.
  • On the back-end, the site can be monetized by providing services to 2 groups: volunteer water clean-up groups and water-quality non-profits/businesses.  Individuals can create groups and organize local clean-ups with calendar events, messaging, and forums.  They can also then communicate with other groups up-stream and down-stream from them.  Educational non-profits and businesses can advertise on the site and reach larger and larger groups of people who care about water quality.

Energy & Affordable Housing Conference

  • Bring 2 communities together: energy-efficiency and renewables with the affordable-housing movement.  Showcase the local issues from both areas to both sides as keynotes, then have local experts on a panel discussion, followed by break-out sessions led by local organizations.
  • Create new collaborative efforts and innovative ideas by showing that energy isn’t just for environmentalists — it can solve key social issues like affordable-housing.  All the examples and talks should be local to prevent most objections, like “that won’t work here.”  This event should be annual and build momentum over time, spinning off new projects all the time.

Habitat Affiliates

  • Create a software that markets local Habitat for Humanity affiliates locally to philanthropy directors.  Automate continuous B2B marketing for Habitat that will bring in new business donors monthly.
  • There are over 300 Habitat affiliates throughout the US and they do amazing work.  They depend on corporate donations, and if you can bring them regular donors, it will be well worth a small monthly fee for them to input their local info and automate a marketing/sales funnel for donors.

There are more… but this is getting too long.




Stress-Free SustainabilityAdam Hammes is a sustainability author, motivational speaker, and consultant advocating for sustainable communities. He specializes in helping change agents avoid burnout and master the art of persuasion.

Check out Adam's book on Amazon, Audible and Kindle: "Stress-Free Sustainability."

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