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Instead, says Jonah Lehrer, author of the controversial (and now withdrawn) book “Imagine: How Creativity Works”, you should welcome debate and even criticism of ideas when presented.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

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

SPONSORED VIDEO

Wilkerson Testimonials

If It’s Time to Consolidate, It’s Time to Call Wilkerson

When Tom Moses decided to close one of the two Moses Jewelers stores in western Pennsylvania, it was time to call in the experts. After reviewing two candidates, Moses, a co-owner of the 72 year-old business, decided to go with Wilkerson. The sale went better than expected. Concerned about running it during the pandemic, Moses says it might have helped the sale. “People wanted to get out, so there was pent-up demand,” he says. “Folks were not traveling so there was disposable income, and we don’t recall a single client commenting to us, feeling uncomfortable. It was busy in here!” And perhaps most importantly, Wilkerson was easy to deal with, he says, and Susan, their personal Wilkerson consultant, was knowledgeable, organized and “really good.” Now, the company can focus on their remaining location — without the hassle of carrying over merchandise that either wouldn’t fit or hadn’t sold. “The decision to hire Wilkerson was a good one,” says Moses.

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