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Thought: All Ideas Are Not Good Ideas

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Thought: All Ideas Are Not Good Ideas

When you have a brainstorming meeting, do you start with a little speech designed to make everyone comfortable and willing to contribute? You know — “All ideas are good ideas” and all that.

Kill that little speech. It doesn’t result in the best ideas. Anyway, if all ideas are considered good ideas, what’s the incentive to improve the quality of the ideas you present?

Instead, says Jonah Lehrer, author of the controversial (and now withdrawn) book “Imagine: How Creativity Works”, you should welcome debate and even criticism of ideas when presented.

After too many meetings in which “all ideas are good ideas”, people tend to get lazy. They stop bringing their best stuff. Sociological experiments show that when people’s ideas are debated, they engage more. Even better, this higher level of engagement continues after the meeting, when participants think about the points made about their ideas, and typically generate even more ideas.

Of course, all of this assumes that criticism is offered respectfully and in a positive spirit. (If you can’t guarantee that, stick with “All ideas are good ideas”.)

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In his book, Lehrer talks of Pixar, whose famed process of artistic invention relies heavily on teams collaborating to find thousands of ideal creative solutions as part of one massive, high-stakes project.

At Pixar, a technique called “plussing” is used in meetings. Basically, that means that whenever work is criticized, you should also try to “plus” it — offer an idea that builds on the original idea and is better.

Or as Pixar head John Lasseter puts it, taking “something that is good and making it better (great).”

Stop accepting the average. “Plus” your way to better brainstorming.

(Note: Due to a recent scandal involving fabricated Bob Dylan quotes included by the author in this book, “Imagine” is no longer available on the Amazon website. Read more at TheWrap.com for more details.)


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Stick to the Program — And Watch Your Sales Grow

When Zadok Master Jewelers in Houston, Texas, decided to move to a new location (they’d been in the same one for the 45 years they’d been in business), they called Wilkerson to run a moving sale. The results, says seventh-generation jeweler Jonathan Zadok, were “off the charts” in terms of traffic and sales. Why? They took Wilkerson’s advice and stuck to the company’s marketing program, which included sign twirlers — something Jonathan Zadok had never used before. He says a number of very wealthy customers came in because of them. “They said, ‘I loved your sign twirlers and here’s my credit card for $20,000.’ There’s no way we could have done that on our own,” says Zadok. “Without Wilkerson, the sale never, ever would have come close to what it did.”

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David Squires

Thought: All Ideas Are Not Good Ideas

Published

on

Thought: All Ideas Are Not Good Ideas

When you have a brainstorming meeting, do you start with a little speech designed to make everyone comfortable and willing to contribute? You know — “All ideas are good ideas” and all that.

Kill that little speech. It doesn’t result in the best ideas. Anyway, if all ideas are considered good ideas, what’s the incentive to improve the quality of the ideas you present?

Instead, says Jonah Lehrer, author of the controversial (and now withdrawn) book “Imagine: How Creativity Works”, you should welcome debate and even criticism of ideas when presented.

After too many meetings in which “all ideas are good ideas”, people tend to get lazy. They stop bringing their best stuff. Sociological experiments show that when people’s ideas are debated, they engage more. Even better, this higher level of engagement continues after the meeting, when participants think about the points made about their ideas, and typically generate even more ideas.

Advertisement

Of course, all of this assumes that criticism is offered respectfully and in a positive spirit. (If you can’t guarantee that, stick with “All ideas are good ideas”.)

In his book, Lehrer talks of Pixar, whose famed process of artistic invention relies heavily on teams collaborating to find thousands of ideal creative solutions as part of one massive, high-stakes project.

At Pixar, a technique called “plussing” is used in meetings. Basically, that means that whenever work is criticized, you should also try to “plus” it — offer an idea that builds on the original idea and is better.

Or as Pixar head John Lasseter puts it, taking “something that is good and making it better (great).”

Stop accepting the average. “Plus” your way to better brainstorming.

(Note: Due to a recent scandal involving fabricated Bob Dylan quotes included by the author in this book, “Imagine” is no longer available on the Amazon website. Read more at TheWrap.com for more details.)

Advertisement

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Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Advertisement

SPONSORED VIDEO

Wilkerson Testimonials | Zadok Master Jewelers

Stick to the Program — And Watch Your Sales Grow

When Zadok Master Jewelers in Houston, Texas, decided to move to a new location (they’d been in the same one for the 45 years they’d been in business), they called Wilkerson to run a moving sale. The results, says seventh-generation jeweler Jonathan Zadok, were “off the charts” in terms of traffic and sales. Why? They took Wilkerson’s advice and stuck to the company’s marketing program, which included sign twirlers — something Jonathan Zadok had never used before. He says a number of very wealthy customers came in because of them. “They said, ‘I loved your sign twirlers and here’s my credit card for $20,000.’ There’s no way we could have done that on our own,” says Zadok. “Without Wilkerson, the sale never, ever would have come close to what it did.”

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