Your BIG IDEA , Three Tips from the Man Behind The Million Dollar Arm

Tammy Y. Allen, Director, Marketing & Programs, The NIIC
Photo by Nita on Pexels

Wouldn’t it be great if million-dollar ideas grew on trees?

They take hard work, ingenuity, and often lead you outside your comfort zone. For sports agent and entrepreneur J.B. Bernstein, his breakthrough came from looking through a new lens at something as traditional as baseball.

Drawing on his unique cross-cultural experience, Bernstein created The Million Dollar Arm contest in India. This became the basis for a Disney movie starring Jon Hamm.

The path to success was not easy, however. Bernstein shared three key tips plus a bonus tip during his keynote at The NIIC Ideas@Work Event.

  1. Ideas are created by a system, not magic. If you believe the legend, Isaac Newton discovered the law of gravity when an apple fell from a tree. This one in a million situation is unlikely to strike again any time soon, so you’re better off putting in the work. As Bernstein noted, “Without a plan, you have planned to fail.”
  2. Ideas are created by seemingly unrelated facts coming together to form your Eureka moment. Take what you know and shuffle it. Make new combinations. Change one thing or apply a fresh approach to an old idea. Bernstein looked at India and saw the marketing opportunity of a billion new potential customers for baseball. Taking popular elements of reality TV, with a big payout and chance to join the Major Leagues, The Million Dollar Arm Contest captured the country’s imagination. At its core, the idea was a remix of the American Dream with a feel-good message about realizing the potential, explained Bernstein. Don’t be afraid to cross boundaries with your thinking.
  3. You can drive innovation by training your mind to do so. The brain is a muscle, for optimal performance, exercise it consistently. To think creatively, you need to use both hemispheres of your brain—which requires practice. Work on mental exercises to help inspire this whole-brained approach. Take, for example, Leonardo da Vinci, one of history’s most creative minds. He wrote his notes in “mirror writing.” Give it a try.
  4. Bonus Tip: Innovation and relationships go hand in hand … if innovation is the vehicle, relationships are the fuel. 

“When I first proposed the Million Dollar Arm contest, everyone said no, that it was the worst idea ever,” said Bernstein. “When people tell you your idea is bad, you’re probably really on to something. What they’re really saying is: that seems like a lot of work.” Once the right partners were on board, Bernstein’s idea took off. Surrounding yourself with the right people can make all the difference in the world.

Looking for a professional support team to help bring YOUR big idea to fruition? Contact us here at The NIIC. We are here for you.



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