The ideas are sent to what I call, The Idea Quarantine. This is a place where the rejected notions are treated like a viruses, sent to die, and are never heard from again.
The dismissal is often premature. Think of many of the innovations during the past 10 years. Most did not start perfectly formed. Yet someone had the courage to say, “Keep working on that.”
If you work at Google, part of your job is to say, “What if?” You are paid to think of better ways to do things.
Innovation and breakthroughs take time. You can’t expect to use a butter knife as a sword. But given the time, the metal can be folded and strengthened into something amazing.
Does this make sense? Then why do we consider ideas as either being good or bad? Should there not be a third category for those that need some nurturing? Let’s Clear the Path and change the way your team’s mental light bulbs are evaluated:
- As a leader, the next time you hear an idea that isn’t quite right, will you take a moment before you send it to the scrap pile?
- Will you discuss idea’s shortcomings and encourage solutions to the challenges?
- Create a culture where your team understands that, “not now,” does not mean, “never.” E-books have grown massively in popularity with the creation of affordable and portable e-readers. Before that innovation could happen, technology needed to catch up with immagination.
- Set boundaries in terms of how much time someone can work on a new idea. It should be a part of the workday/week but not to the point where it makes general tasks suffer. Think of new ideas like a dessert and not your meat and potatoes.
- Let your team know that there’s no shame in throwing in the towel on an idea that just can’t be made to work.
- Reward inovation. Any employee can just perform their job. Those who go beyond it should be recognized.
Bottom Line: Nothing kills inovation faster than rejection. Encourage creative thinking. When someone feels empowered to pursue their ideas, they become a much more valuable employee.