When it comes to ideas, most disappear in the first hour they’re created because bringing something into the world takes serious effort. But no new thing can exist without real determination, struggle, and the effort of multiple people to see something come to life and flourish. Yet, some of the world’s best ideas disappear as quickly as they’re thought of because people shoot themselves down before telling another person what they’re thinking.
The simple truth is that often times our ideas don’t even get past the first handful of people because negative feedback is taken as justification to not do anything with the idea. What should happen of course, is that you take that feedback as a means to improve your idea and continue to iterate til it takes root.
How to do that though, can be easier said than done. Here then, are just a handful of steps that should help:
Tip #1 – Don’t let criticism get to your head
There are many successful people today living exciting lives built on their ideas, who had to fail at getting traction several times before they succeeded at getting their ideas to take off.
- Akio Morita’s first rice cooker sold fewer than 100 units, because it burned the rice instead of cooking it. You may not have heard of him, but you’ve probably heard of his company, Sony.
- Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor, because the editor felt “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas”
- During his lifetime, Vincent Van Gogh only managed to sell one painting but painted 800 anyway, during his lifetime.
The potential and ideas were there in each of these people all along the way. These ideas they had just had to either go through several iterations, or wait until everyone around them caught onto the idea themselves. In each case though, these people refused to let the ideas and concepts they had die at the hands of themselves or anyone else they encountered along the way. That’s what separated them from people with good ideas who you and I haven’t ever heard of before.
Just like getting a car out of a ditch, it takes real effort to get your idea moving initially until it takes off on its own momentum. Be careful to not be your own worst enemy, by failing to get the idea off the ground because you weren’t willing to conquer your own fears and insecurities to get the idea on paper and begin sharing it with people, while using that feedback to refine / shape the idea along the way.
Tip #2 – Don’t be afraid to alter your plan of attack
The hardest ideas to surface can sometimes be around questioning something already agreed to, or pushing back on something half way built. The truth is though, that the most difficult ideas to surface can end up leading to the biggest improvements, as those ideas can help reveal blind spots missed along the way.
I’ve worked with companies that have had to choose between incorporating the next idea, shipping the product as is, or pivoting altogether because something drastic changed since the product road map had been put in place. Though it’s never an obvious choice which direction to go, shipping something they knew would be flawed always turned out worse in the end than delaying shipment to get the product right. It’s important to consider new ideas at every stage of product development in order to ensure that the right product ships every time.
Tip #3 – Continue sharing the idea, re-calibrate with user input, and persevere
Only through doing difficult things multiple times does it become easier, and being innovative and driving new ideas certainly is a muscle we must flex multiple times to get better at it. Repeating the process of developing ideas, refining them, and getting those ideas into meaningful outcomes is certainly worth the effort, but will always take effort (either internally or externally). It will also require dedication and determination, but will produce meaningful outcomes each and every time.
You need to always be willing to bring something up and share freely so that your company can continue to reinforce a culture of innovation and collaboration.