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It Takes Multiple Crazy Ideas to Find the Perfect One

by Aug 7, 2017

You’re sitting in the staff meeting, surrounded by superiors and colleagues, and the meeting speaker says “We need some ideas, just throw them out.” And silence ensues.

Sound familiar? No one wants to throw out ideas that will be pushed aside as “too crazy” or “not good enough.” And yet, throwing out crazy ideas gets the ball rolling and allows your brain to think of less crazy, yet equally good, ideas. In her article “Why You Should Absolutely Be Sharing Your Crazy Ideas in MeetingsAbby Wolfe describes all the benefits of throwing out your crazy ideas in staff meetings, to your colleagues, or to your boss. She writes:

“OK, forget about money and logistics. Tell me what your ideal partnership between our two departments would be,” my colleague, Ben, said to me a few weeks ago…

“Don’t be afraid to suggest crazy ideas,” Ben said, as I sat there thinking and tapping my pen against my notes. When I laughed, he told me that he “always starts with crazy ideas, because it helps lead other people to have more realistic but great [ones].”

He’s right, and I need to start thinking more like he does. We all should.

Because the thing is, you never know what that “wild” thought will lead to. Sure, it might be declined right off the bat. Or, perhaps, your suggestion inspires an even better, and more brilliant idea, from your teammate. But maybe, just maybe, the decision-maker surprises you and approves your initial proposal.

I’m not saying these have to be completely bizarre or fantastical in nature. I’m just saying that, sometimes, we need to push convention aside and abandon the standard mold (at least temporarily) to find the best solutions and to take things to the next level.

The worst anyone can ever say after you propose an idea is “no.” And really, that answer isn’t that bad at all. The whole point of “brainstorming” is to create a storm of ideas. Not all of them will be good– the goal is to get your brain thinking and hopefully find one good idea among many that aren’t as good.

At the very least, sharing your crazy ideas gets them out of your head and will allow room for other *better* ideas to grow.

Photo: retrieved from Pixabay, available under the public domain.

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