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Truth - Ideas Are Fragile, Handle With Care

Truth - Ideas Are Fragile, Handle With Care

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Published by Max Mckeown

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Published by: Max Mckeown on Oct 25, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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06/16/2009

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Ideas Are Fragile, Handle With Care
Ever had an idea? Have you experienced that eureka moment? Ever had an idearejected? Have you ever forgotten an important thought? Have you ever gainedinsights that might make a difference but given up because the prospect of  jumping through corporate hoops was too much effort?
Ideas are fragile. They can mean everything if used or nothing at all if wasted.There are many ways of wasting good ideas even if people do share them. Thereare also many ways of sending the message that people with good ideas would bewasting their time if they shared them with you.
Idea Toxic
is a company where thinking is not welcome and thinkers receive norewards for their efforts. Culturally there is one best way so that people view newideas as trouble. There is indifference to finding any better way. There is cynicismborn of apathy and negative experiences.
Idea Wasteful
is a company where managers treat ideas casually. They think thatideas are simple, easy, not really worth doing anything about. They view creativityas the opposite of productivity. There is often no organised way of dealing withnew ideas. There may be an underpowered suggestion scheme or an over-demanding return on investment scheme.
Idea Friendly
is a company that welcomes new ideas. It knows that they arevaluable. It knows that they are necessary. It has a culture that wants to examineideas and see how they contribute. There is often an organised way of dealingwith new ideas as they arrive. There may even be an approach to managing thoseideas through to the market.
Idea Hungry
is a company that that
seeks
out new ideas. It wants to understandthe world better. It wants to make a difference. It is drive by curiosity to questionassumptions. People view their expertise as a starting point for contributing tonew knowledge rather than as a defence mechanism for keeping facts in neatlittle boxes. Individuals and their networks challenge boundaries. People seeimpossible as motivational rather than a constraint.
 
If someone on the front line of your organisation has an idea what happens to it?Often a supervisor decides whether to pass it on or not. The filtering processcontinues until a small number of ideas arrive at the top. Which ideas getthrough? Ideas that managers believe are acceptable. These are often not thegood ideas. They are unlikely to be the transformational ideas or the ideas thatinspire the rest of the company. This kind of filter doesn’t allow give enough ideasa chance. Some companies have suggestion schemes, allowing the idea to bypassthe immediate manager. Unfortunately, most of these schemes receive less thanhalf an idea per employee each year.
 
Idea Mismanagement
is anything that you do that wastes ideas. If you don’twrite down ideas, they just disappear. All that effort creating them producesnothing. All the insight and experience wrapped up in the idea is gone. If youdon’t develop ideas, they sit on the shelf unused. If you don’t test ideas, youdon’t learn whether the idea was good or bad, too early or too late.
 
Idea Management
is what you do to protect and nurture ideas. You store andcatalogue ideas so that they can be found when they are needed. You testthem so that you know what worked, what didn’t, and why. Anyone who findsthem gets to build on what you learned. People receive support to developtheir ideas so that you don’t reject gems just because they’re unpolished.Hierarchy and history conspire to disconnect the part that
thinks
from the partthat
does
. When thinking and doing are disconnected, innovation is impossible.Greek philosophers, of the upper island class, conceived of the telescope butwere unable to bring it to life because they didn't rub shoulders with the artisanswho had the glass manufacturing ability. One thousand six-hundred years later atrio of glass polishers brought the telescope to life. The success of old ideas limitsorganisations from embracing new ideas. Small groups of people responsible forthinking rely on whatever it was that worked in the past. Ideas, good or bad,come from the top. The rest of the organisation is there to do rather to think.Fewer and fewer ideas make the journey from the centre of the company to theoutside world. Your opportunity is to reverse this trend.

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