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07/01 Creativity Comment
tell me that their teams have no use for more creativity.
“We’ve already got more ideas than we can handle, the
last thing we need around here are new ones,” is the common
comment. Then they
say, “It’s the follow-up that is limiting our progress, not
finding new ways to do things.”
But, even if all focus is on follow-up, doesn’t that also
require new ideas?
It’s easy to
appreciate their predicament.
With so many ideas buzzing around, it is certainly very
difficult to select the few to pursue.
When all ideas are “average,” it becomes virtually
impossible to decide which ones are the best.
We should always
be on the lookout for “great” ideas, the ones that rise to the
surface and eventually displace the many “average” ones. Therefore, increased creativity ought to be a high priority,
especially when swamped by an ocean of mediocre ideas. I know of
no method (or person) that produces a predominance of “great”
“great” ones always swim in a sea of “not-so-greats.”
Always aim for
“great” ideas, even when you are pursuing what seems to be a
terrific direction for your project.
There will always be a superior approach; perhaps faster,
cheaper, or even a totally new strategy.
If a competitor has the “great” idea for an improved
way to do things, it will be your loss.
Set the culture
of your group to continually search for “great” ideas.
It won’t take significant time.
It needn’t cost anything.
Your staff won’t complain about your request for more
creativity. In fact,
they ought to find it pleasurable.
Just give them an outlet for their ideas, perhaps
collecting written ideas, or an opportunity to voice them in the
hallway or at meetings. Then,
you have the responsibility to evaluate them and provide
rationale for your reject, accept, request-more-information, or
In these days of
fast-paced competition, “great” ideas will, more than anything
else, separate the winners from the losers.
And, remember, in Creativity Comment 04/01, we learned that
anyone can come up with a “great” idea at any time.
in your group should be strongly encouraged to continually
offer their ideas. Surely,
some will be “great.”