Ideas – the building blocks of civilisation #83 #cong18


The world is built and continues to develop around ideas. anyone can have one, hold one, share one. The formation of ideas can’t be stopped and they support people, organisations and governments, formally and informally. Basically our world is an amalgam of ideas, and without them…

4 Key Takeaways:

  1. Ideas are of and for everyone
  2. Ideas inspire, inform and enable
  3. Ideas are infinite
  4. Without ideas, we have nothing

About Padraig McKeon:

Padraig McKeon has had a lifetime career… to date, in corporate and public communications working with two of Ireland’s largest public relations agencies and more recently as an independent consultant.

He also teaches – communications in DCU – and holds a number of directorships – both commercial and non profit.

A native of Sligo – of which he is very proud – he is insatiably curious and an inveterate sharer of thinking.

Contacting Padraig McKeon:

You can connect with Padraig on LinkedIn, Skype (padraigmckeon) or email him.

By Padraig McKeon

On the first occasion that I made a submission for Congregation it was very much in the “I had a thought” form. Over time, reflecting my working environment – and with a growing urgency in my mind of a need for an evidence base to public discourse – my contributions had become more ‘academic’ in presentation.
So, when I set about thinking through what I might write here, I found myself with a problem. Being now more conditioned to an evidence-based approach, where could I start here? What academic reference point could I credibly lean on? . What do I write about? In fact, the more I thought about it… what is an idea anyway?

Like a good student, I started with the Oxford English Dictionary (online of course ) which tells us that ‘Idea’ is a noun which is defined in the first instance as “a thought or suggestion as to a possible course of action’.

However, it tells us also that ‘idea’ can be defined as ‘a mental impression’ or, alternately, as ‘an opinion or a belief’.

So, I find myself acknowledging what I know – that an idea can be anything, and anybody’s, which is where their power lies.

Ideas are about the most accessible thing know to us – anyone can have one and no-one can ever take it away.

Ideas inspire passion – people love ideas, literally.

Ideas inspire hope – people will endure great physical and psychological hardship and discomfort in pursuit of an idea.

For the individual, their ability to have and hold an idea builds confidence and resilience.

For organisations ideas give purpose and can sustain change.

Governments fall for them or over them.

Ideas underpin education and innovation.

Ideas inspire creativity – in art, in music, science.

Ideas are generous – they can be shared with anyone

Ideas are flexible and adaptable. They can meet disagreement and dissonance and reshape.

They are also imperfect. Many are not fully formed, but they still give sustenance to thinking

You can’t stop ideas, they form and reform constantly – even when people are asleep.

Ideas are infinite… a thought can last forever.

Ideas are viral – they flow between people and enable other ideas to form around them.

Ideas are life enhancing. They sustain people – think of people far from home or denied their freedom or battling poverty or ill health.

Ideas are a life and death thing. Through the ages people have died for ideas… people have clung to life with and for an idea.

So, when you think about them, without ideas… where would we be?

This tribute is like many ideas, a few thoughts brought together, but not fully formed

They say money makes the world go around? I disagree, and the evidence is everywhere to behold.

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