Nope. There is categorically no such thing as a bad idea. It might need reworking. It might be disliked a little in its first instance. It might seem so extreme that it isn’t possible, but what is for sure, there is no such thing as a bad idea. Every idea – good or slightly unusual, are all important in the journey of producing really great ideas. Without the deemed to be ‘bad’ ideas, which I like to describe as unusual, uncommon, unexpected, unnatural, unorthodox, unfamiliar, unique ideas (basically anything that is starting with an ‘un’), debate is not sparked, new ideas are not suggested and good, practical, real ideas are not created. I could finish my blog here, but I believe there is a much deeper point behind this question.
Too many people believe that they come up with bad ideas. They are not idea generators. Their ideas are not worth being heard. Why? For countless years they have been shunned. They have been rubbished. They are told things are not possible by people who do not know what possible is. They have brought their ideas up at the dinner table and been told by their brother to keep quiet. They have suggested an idea either at school or work and not received any feedback
. Granted, this isn’t the situation in every environment, but there are countless people who will be able to relate to this. Our attitude to ‘unfamiliar’ ideas needs to be more adopting. We must embrace them. We must let these ideas be heard. Why? Without the ‘unusual’ ideas being heard, ‘real’ ideas will continue not to be created. Idea bullies need to be found, caught and sent to this blog to start changing their language when people around them suggest unique ideas.
I believe the reason we got into an economic mess over the last 5 years and the only way we will continue to get out of it is by our culture of innovation. Innovation is the life blood to any successful economy, but we don’t embrace it. Innovation is the creation of new business models, new management methods, new products and new ways of communicating. It isn’t just the creation of new businesses. Innovation can take place in existing businesses. Old businesses. Successful businesses. Struggling businesses. As the tide turned against many businesses years ago, including our big banks, they looked for short-cuts. They followed non-innovative methods. They looked for quick wins – they borrowed more money, leant more money, wasted money. Short-Cuts + non-innovative methods + quick wins = an underlying problem in any business. It demonstrates that they did not have a sustainable model and it caught up on them. Why did they look for quick wins? Because they lacked an innovative culture. They lacked the culture that embraced abnormal, unfamiliar and unusual ideas. They didn’t let sustainable, long term, well thought ideas develop. Unique ideas weren’t embraced, so consequently unhelpful and unthoughtful ideas were implemented.
I started this blog with an intention of putting to the bed the question of whether bad ideas existed. Half way through I’ve ended up solving the economic crisis! We have to embrace innovation at all levels and in all environments, starting in our homes, schools and offices. People are not born innovative, they become innovative. At home, children should experiment at meal times, deciding what ingredients should be used to make a tasty meal on a cheaper budget. At school, let children be heard (Surbiton High School is brilliant for this!). Let discussions flow. Illustrate to them that their first idea, led to the creation of a collaborative improved idea. For those parents reading this blog and who go to work, have regular think tank sessions. Let your office colleagues finish their ideas rather than jumping in to correct them. Invite all levels of employees to share their ideas.
All – It’s time we stamp out this ‘idea bullying’ that exists at dining tables, office water coolers and school playgrounds across the globe. We must embrace the ‘unusual’ ideas, debate them and produce something much greater. So – the next time you listen to someone come up with an idea, which you believe is a ‘bad’ idea, stop, think, remember this blog and join in collaboratively with that person to develop the idea into something much more than it was when it started. There is no such thing as a bad idea. It might just need a little extra work!