How do you make your great ideas thrive and grow?

Have you ever had an idea but when you suggested your initial thoughts, people smiled or smirked or it was ignored or maybe quickly closed down as everyone went onto the next bullet point? If so, you are not alone!! It happens all the time and here’s the thing: Mostly we don’t even know it’s happening! It just sneaks up and kills the creative and innovation potential inside us and across the organisation.

But there are some simple changes we can make to allow ideas to grow and thrive!

In 2016, I delivered my Getting to Yes keynote to Sportsbet in their most cool, indoor sports arena.

Amongst other things, we explored the power of language in killing ideas. Let me explain.

Language is very, very powerful. Words can either cut through us like a knife, or lift us up to great heights. When we’re feeling down, a few kind words can make all the difference. Particular words that someone said, good or bad, can stay with us for a life time.

Words have a huge impact.

In particular, they have a massive impact on innovation and the idea process. Poorly chosen words are one of the biggest idea killers around.

Author and legendary former Head of BBDO Advertising Charles H. Brower said, “A new idea is delicate. It can be killed by a sneer or a yawn; it can be stabbed to death by a joke or worried to death by a frown on the right person’s brow.”

The biggest-idea killers of all are two small words. They’re seemingly
harmless. If they were animals, they’d be the size of cute (but very nasty) little rabbits.

If you’re serious about creating a culture of innovation, you need to remove these two words from your organisation’s language.

The two words to avoid: “no” and “but”

Have you ever heard this conversation at a team meeting? Someone says, “I’ve been looking at our process, and I think I may have a way to improve on xxxxxx.” All too often, the responses are:

  • “No, but we’ve tried that before.”
  • “Yes, sounds good in theory, but it won’t work.”
  • “Yes, but we’ve always done it this way.”

These phrases – the words “no” and “but” together – kill the conversation, and any creative thinking and possibilities with it.

I feel so strongly about the importance of language, it’s a key step in my Innovation Framework and I devote a whole chapter to it in my innovation book: A Thousand Little Lightbulbs: How to kickstart a culture of Innovation in your Organisation

The good news is, there are some easy fixes. We have been creating and innovating since the beginning of time. It’s in our blood and if we can get rid of some of those little road blocks, great things happen. And this was some of the great ideas I explored with Sportsbet as we had a great time exploring how to create a culture of innovation and make ideas thrive.

Curious? Would you like to know more about bringing more creativity, imagination, curiosity and innovation into your team and organisation?

Simon Banks

About the Author

Simon Banks is an Author. International Keynote speaker and Podcaster on creativity and innovation and recovering Artist. He’s delivered over 1400+ events across the globe and is known for running innovation workshops, conferences and design sprints to brew fresh thinking and solve wicked problems. His book A Thousand Little Lightbulbs: How to kickstart a culture of Innovation in your Organisation is out now.

Get in touch here

If you’re thinking,
‘Hmmm, I’d like to know more’

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