Why Bad Ideas Happen to Good Businesses

The Idea Guy   •   October 2, 2017

For nearly 30 years, I’ve worked with leaders in the C-Suite to make strategic decisions about their business. From coast to coast and abroad, I listened in awe and amazement to the ideas presented and the rationale behind them. Some were awesome, and some were awful (based on my knowledge, experience and process).

What I eventually learned was that everyone has a reason for their idea, although some reasons are better than others.

The problem isn’t the bad idea – that’s just the result of the process (or lack thereof). The problem is the reason behind it; the knowledge, experience and application of both in creating the idea.

All too often I hear CXO’s (all job titles in the C-Suite) say that they already know everything they need to know. They know their customer. They know their competitor. But they don’t know why their “big idea” isn’t performing like they said it would when they sold it in the meeting.

From what I’ve seen, the leaders in the companies that are successful, have identified the elements that contribute to generating a good (i.e., effective) idea. I have seen, time after time, that if they focus on improving these critical elements then they can always improve the idea.

  • If they gain new knowledge, about materials or customer preferences, then they know something they didn’t know before. If they learn something their competitors don’t know, then they have a differential advantage (this is always good).

  • If they gain new experiences, like how a customer uses their service or what it’s like when a product doesn’t work right, then they know even more than before.

  • If they use a new (or better) process to generate ideas and solve problems, like human-centered design or design thinking, they can consistently learn more.

I’ve also seen that when companies do this on a regular basis, they know everything they need to know to compete in their marketplace, wherever that may be.

Best Practices To Practice

One of the ways you can learn more about generating new ideas for your business is to meet new people who think differently; they will (eventually) impact your thinking. If you and I have not met yet please consider this an invitation to help get you started.

Another way is to have different experiences – things that make you look at things differently than you have in the past. Attend a learning event, like a conference, to jump start a change in the way you do what you do. We’ve all heard that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is insanity, and this isn’t any different.

Ultimately, you need to identify and adopt a repeatable process – something different that what you’ve done in the past – that will consistently deliver what your business needs most: good ideas. – The Idea Guy