Pull! 10 Signs You’re Shooting Down Good Ideas.

Shooting Skeet

If you follow the concepts of the Wisdom of Crowds, the Generous Web, Mosh Pit Innovation, or Harvesting Collective Genius… you believe in the power of ideas “bubbling up.”

Yet, few companies create an environment conducive to idea sharing. In fact, most companies, bosses, and even employees TRAIN individuals NOT to share ideas by shooting down every idea tossed into the air.

Here are 10 signs you’re shooting down good ideas.

10. You know whether or not an idea is good based who proposed it.

9. You observe from a distance rather than being lead down a path to the idea. (a.k.a. The Sniper)

8. You believe every idea is improved with your input.

7. Listing the top 10 ideas from your department this year, half or more are your own.

6. Brainstorming means narrowing down to the best idea, instead of hearing all of them.

5. All ideas must be proven.

4. You only want BIG ideas.

3. You have no effective mechanisms to foster, collect, review, and implement ideas.

2. Your competition is your main source of ideas.

1. No matter how much you’ve talked about ideas, collected them, praised them, in the end you don’t use them. (Like a maimed duck, you let them wander off and die.)


Paul Williams at Idea Sandbox shared some relevant advice in his April edition of Sand for Your Inbox. He included Matt Kingdon’s steps for “greenhousing” ideas (from the book Sticky Wisdom):

  1. Suspend – It doesn’t matter if it’s a good idea or not, don’t evaluate it at first. Hold your judgement. Be positive.
  2. Understand – Put yourself in the shoes of the person suggesting the idea. Listen. Ask questions if you don’t understand. (Supporting questions not barbed questions).
  3. Nurture – Add or build on the idea. Brainstorm more on how to make the idea even stronger. Add value.

Dustin Staiger is a business and marketing coach in Houston, TX. He addresses team and individual effectiveness, marketing, communications and creativity for smaller, entrepreneurial organizations as well as large enterprises.

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7 thoughts on “Pull! 10 Signs You’re Shooting Down Good Ideas.

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  2. For 90% of the employees, it works. However, for the ones like me, it’s hard because it’s part of what drives me. It’s hard to find the companies that foster it.

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  4. I have no idea what that is (Gee Note: Its kind of hypnotic though right? Ive watched this thing like sixteen times in a row now. Its not that I like it. Its that I cant not watch it).