Thursday, December 4, 2008


Imagine one morning while driving to work, you’re suddenly hit with a great idea. It could be just anything – may be a better way to disseminate info among staff, or a completely new marketing strategy for your college, or simply a cheaper, more interesting and faster way to do your daily routine work !

You rush to your workplace and coincidentally meet your boss at the punch-card machine counter. With full enthusiasm you immediately describe your great idea to him.

And without a second’s thought, he responded: “Oh, we already did that last year. It didn’t work.” And he just moves on, leaving you behind, speechless ...

Your killer idea has just met an idea killer !


Idea killers are phrases or negative comments that people make without thinking when they first hear an idea. Here are some of the common ones:

  • “That’s really stupid.”
  • “Our college don’t operate like that.”
  • “The bursar will never buy it.”
  • “The CEO will hate it.”
  • “Other college has already done that.”
  • “Gimme a couple of weeks and I’ll get back to you.”
  • “Let’s set up a committee to investigate its viability.”
  • “May be in a couple of years from now.”
  • “I don’t think it’ll work.”


Ideas, especially great ones, are fragile. Therefore they need openness, passion and nurturing to flourish.

So the next time someone comes up to you and shares with you his great idea, here is what you should do :

  • Take 30 seconds to think why the idea would work
  • Think of all the positive aspects of the idea
  • Imagine how it could work
  • Question your own assumptions
  • Then, and only then, give him your feedback

You’ll be amazed at the difference this will make, especially to the person who initially brought up the idea. When you give an idea a moment’s thought, you give yourself the time to see and evaluate all its possibilities and the potential.

Of course, you can always critic the idea later on, but do it only after you have looked at all the positive aspects. This way, you may find "the seed" – that is the little germ of an idea that can blossom into great profits for your organization.

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