Not all ideas are alike. A few are fully formed and ready-to-go. But most ideas, depending on where they are in the development continuum, are more like children.
They start out as small, unfinished sparks. Both children and ideas start small, have lots of room to grow, and have the potential to make a big impact.
They need to be nurtured. Just like kids, ideas need a champion. Someone, and preferably a group of people, must support the idea and provide it with care and room to grow.
They are not perfect. In many cases, there are parts of an idea that you love, and parts that are not perfect. The worst thing you can do is throw everything out because you only focused on the negative. You’d never do that to your kid, right? Instead, think of the idea with a problem-solving mindset: focus on what you wish were different and how you might address the issue.
They can learn. Think of it as optimization. Try it, test it, improve it, and then try it again. With the right amount of time and attention, ideas, like children, can live up to their potential.
They’re not always on your schedule. You know how kids always seem to want to talk when you’re busy or on the phone? You need to find time and pay attention to them so you don’t miss something special. This is also the case with ideas. They may have something worthwhile to show you, or they may contain something you haven’t considered. You may think they are predictable, but don’t assume you know all that they have to offer. Never sell those fleeting thoughts short—even a seemingly insignificant word or phrase can inspire a long-lasting idea.
Beth Storz is President and Innovation Process Facilitator at Ideas To Go. She co-authored the book, "Outsmart Your Instincts: How the Behavioral Innovation™ Approach Drives Your Company Forward." Beth has been a guest on many innovation podcasts and her work has been featured in media outlets such as HuffPost and Fortune. Beth holds a BS in Business Management from Cornell University and a MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business, and has worked in brand management at some of the premier consumer packaged goods companies—including Unilever, Kraft and Nabisco. Since joining Ideas To Go, Beth has established herself as a leader in the Innovation landscape and designed and facilitated projects for hundreds of companies—from CPG to financial services to pharmaceuticals.