What’s the best idea you never had?

2017 is my year of the idea. Having researched and written endlessly and passionately about decision making and meetings for the last six years, I am now going to be concentrating on the rocket fuel for both Smart Decision Making and the Mote Meeting System – powerful ideas.
I am fascinated by how we come up with ideas, how we share them by thinking together, how we develop them, and how we use them to achieve the outcomes and successes that business continually challenges us to achieve. It’s a big subject!

I am also fascinated by the other side of the coin – the times when we should have had a great idea, but didn’t. Also interested in the times we had the germ of a great idea, but didn’t succeed in selling it or exploiting it. That is why I have asked you the question in the headline. Can you think of occasions when your business or personal life might have been transformed if only you’d had a killer idea or successfully pitched it? What went wrong? Was it your fault – or someone else’s? Was there anything more – or different – that you could have done?

If love is what makes the world go round, ideas are truly what enable us to understand it and change it. We live in a world of big money, big numbers and big data. Yet individuals – even very powerful ones – can’t have much influence over the money, the numbers and the data.

How very different with ideas! We can’t solve problems (or even understand them) without ideas. We cannot appreciate opportunities, let alone realise them, without ideas. We need ideas to take to meetings. In the meetings we have to contribute to the refinement and finessing of ideas. When we are part of a decision making team we must treat ideas as the raw material for solutions, outcomes and transformations.

There is an urban myth that only some of us are capable of coming up with any ideas, let alone great, game-changing ones. I have been extensively researching and trawling for insights among academics, business gurus, philosophers and psychologists. I believe strongly that we all can be idea generators, idea sharers, idea developers, and idea communicators. We just have to have confidence, and take some tips on board – the most important of which is that thinking together in a team is just as valuable a skill as dreaming up original ideas in the bath.

A lifetime in advertising has given me a deep respect for ideas, without which marketers can’t make their brands successful and competitive. But admen use the idea word both for ingredients (the ‘big idea’ in a pitch) and the finished dish. There is usually a lot of hard work in between the eureka moment and the awards ceremony. To become a true idea-meister we need put the same priority on the plated dish as on the promising ingredient. We also need to have as much respect for your idea and their idea as ‘my idea’.

And there is invaluable learning for us all from the missed opportunities, the botched decisions and the ideas we never had.
This is David’s Marketing Society blog for January 2017. Read more at https://www.marketingsociety.com/the-library/what%E2%80%99s-best-idea-you-never-had#rSokV5C7EbPo5Dzc.99