Why no idea is a bad idea

Imagine this. It’s a light and breezy Tuesday morning. You had pancakes for breakfast. You chose your favourite topping. You’re feeling energetic today. Just as well. Your manager scheduled another morning ‘brainstorm session’. The whole team is called in. The purpose? To collectively come up with some ideas for a new service targeted at customer group B.

We’ve all been in somewhat mind-numbing situations where we get summoned to turn on our creativity. We’re then expected to come up with a light-bulb idea there and then. A product could be born by lunchtime. Easy, right? No. What’s worse is, we often feel like our idea might be ‘utterly ridiculous’ (our words not theirs) if we say it in front of everyone. These are dangerous thoughts. They should come with a warning. Because frankly, no idea is a ‘bad’ idea. But do you know what might be worse? The ideas that go unsaid and untested.

Every idea is like a drop of gold dust. Even if it might not seem like it at the time. But under a certain light, at an optimum temperature, in the right hands, it has potential to be something extremely valuable. As valuable as a whole block of gold.

How do you make sure you’re catching those sparks of gold dust? Here’s how we embrace ideas in our workshops. Oh, and we also pay some respect to the big names that launched and failed their ideas too. Respect them for trying. Hink doesn’t judge.

Let them be said and heard

The beauty about brainstorming ideas is that they can be built upon. Even if your initial idea is not yet complete, by saying it you start a mind-blowing process. It sparks a thought in someone else. Another person jumps in with insightful questions. Your team then pitches in with concepts that could be added to it. These are all things that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

Who are we to say that an idea is good or bad anyway? When Microsoft launched its CD-ROM encyclopedia Encarta in 1993, it had a useful purpose. Even though the creation was based on an earlier established product – the Grolier KnowledgeDisc, the internet boom superseded its relevance and need. It quickly became one of their loss leaders. We’re sure someone then decided to create a free online encyclopedia that anyone could add to…

“The line between good and bad ideas is very thin. A bad idea in the hands of the right person can easily be tweaked into a good idea.” — Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit

Not now, but maybe later?

It’s not always the case that ideas are not great. It’s that we aren’t ready for them. Our minds can get ahead of our time. If we (as a society and evolution) don’t have the right tools or skills to make it happen yet, that’s not our fault.

Remember when there was a huge fuss about how Google Glass would allow us to be futuristic AND look like Neo from The Matrix? It all sounded too good to be true. That’s because it might have come too soon. Other than it being a sky-high price, Google had not yet fully hashed out how they would comply with privacy policies and deal with cultural backlash. It is however, still in the works. Maybe one for a future decade?


Count each one as a blessing

 

How many times have we ever got something right the first time? It’s the same with ideas, products and the way we offer services. Why do we expect ourselves to come up with an impeccable idea that will definitely work the first time round? We would forgive our children if they didn’t win their first competition.*

Each time we embrace a new idea, develop it and execute it, the whole process and result is like a blessing. Especially if it fails. There is a reason that inspiring CEOs, leaders and entrepreneurs have all had failures or business losses in the past. They learnt by doing. Then most of them succeeded afterwards.

Even Apple had its moments. The chunky, black-framed Newton Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) completely flopped upon its release. It was 8 inches tall and 4.5 inches wide with a far from perfect handwriting recognition on its screen. What’s magical about its failure is that it then inspired Apple’s iPhone and iPad design, technology and functionality. As always, one thing led to another.

*In no way are we telling you how to discipline or teach your children. It is a general point to consider how tough we can be on ourselves.

Success is in the execution

The thing is, even if an idea starts off as good/groundbreaking/[enter positive adjective of choice], it still has huge potential to not work at all. Ideas should be assessed by what actually happens, rather than its predictability to work. History tells us that execution and timing are key to its success. The failure of a ‘good’ idea is often in the detail of its implementation.

We have ideas to help your ideas

No stupid or bad ideas when you are with us. In fact, we are skilled listeners that trigger your creativity and help you join the dots. We’ll never tell you what to do, or bore you with some structured conversation. We only offer workshops that inspire ideas.

  • Lego Serious Play –  We’re trained experts in the perfect catalyst for a creative team building session filled with collaboration and fun!
  • Half-day lightning sprint – Not the exercise kind, but we do use creative thinking to challenge assumptions and develop a solution with the end user in mind.
  • 4-day sprint – Have an idea you want to try? We have the method to solve any business challenge. You do too. We guide you to map, sketch, prototype and test it with optimal results.

Intrigued?

Thought you would be.

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