Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Best Dime You'll Ever Spend Part 1

9 Methods You Can Use To Kill Ideas

Micromanaging kills ideas. It keeps the micromanaged person too busy to think.

Overcriticizing kills ideas. No idea is born perfect. But if it isn't wrapped in a blanket and stuck under a warming light for a few minutes after hatched, its chances of survival are slim.

Collaboration kills ideas (when consensus is insisted upon). How many brainstorming sessions have you sat through that are really attempts at building consensus? Getting everyone to agree on an idea by wordsmithing, voting, and other methods of judgment and selection only dissipates an original idea until it stops resembling its original form.

Brainstorming kills ideas (except when done properly). Closely related to the previous method; the problem with brainstorming is it's seldom done correctly. There's no facilitator to quash side discussions, group members are allowed to voice dozens reasons why any idea can't be done, and the whole endeavor ends up rolling toward a desire for consensus - i.e. agreement - to keep conflict manageable.

Money kills ideas. Having too much money at the outset often lets you buy solutions instead of coming up with creative ones.

Not enough money kills ideas. Being broke is romanticized as the primary generator of ideas, when in reality it probably kills off more than are created. There's really no good thing about being broke - unless it leads to no longer being broke.

Illness kills ideas. I don't know about you, but when I'm sick, I only have two ideas: what TV shows to watch that won't bore me as I lay suffering on my couch, and what high-calorie foods I can eat because, well, I'm sick!

Too many ideas kills ideas. You've seen it happen: the brilliant idea person deluges everyone with too many ideas to process. them. And people don't want to revisit the site of the flood to find out if there's anything left worth salvaging.

Fear kills ideas. It causes people to run away.

Sure, ideas are a dime a dozen. We come up with dozens of them from sunup to sundown. Everything from "I haven't seen R--- in awhile, I think I'll email him and see when we can do lunch..." to "Maybe I could quit my job and open an [insert startup company here.]"

Believe the saying and you believe ideas are about as valuable as uncooked rice grains in the middle of the desert. In reality, we need ideas. We need to spend those dimes because we need the help!

Ideas are Communication. They're how we generate interest in other people. But how often have we brought up an idea, only to immediately hear "Let me play devil's advocate..." - and then you spend more time defending the idea instead of finding ways to make it work.

In order to cultivate ideas, we have to be knowledgeable about how they can be destroyed.

Next up: What cultivates ideas.

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