There was a time when the past was quite helpful in predicting the future, but in today’s volatile business environment we need to be receptive to new ideas. Strategy has shifted into a place where reliance on planning based on past decisions may no longer be the best approach to accommodate changing realities.
I work with senior executives and operational managers to facilitate strategic planning workshops. That title may have misled you since most of the learning is aimed at developing strategic thinking skills. I have found that if I publish that I meet with huge resistance to the notion that management teams do not think strategically. Yet I experience ideacide constantly and usually within the first 45 minutes of a workshop from managers the very people with responsibility for identifying growth opportunities are the people who frequently fail to explore emerging ideas…for committing ideacide.
Ideacide – Are you killing enough ideas?
Youngme Moon developed an anti creativity checklist a list of behaviours that stifle innovation and creativity in ourselves and others. Some are typical of what I see and hear when I experience ideacide:
- Play it safe. Listen to that inner voice that tells you not to stick your neck out. This usually happens to those whose ideas have been shot down. It also happens when fixed patterns of thinking keep managers inside “The School of Safe” making it difficult for them to divert, see things in a new light that would be uncomfortable…risky!
- Know your limitations. Don’t be afraid to pigeonhole yourself. The act of self censoring, a voluntary shut down of the imagination
- Another example of ideacide; Make scepticism your middle name. Show everyone why that idea won’t work. Adding layers of complexity to a potential solution that simply don’t exist. Failing to appreciate what has potential.
- Respect history. Always give the past the benefit of the doubt. Use experience as a weapon. Been there, done that. Failing to explore the context in which past decisions were made against the reality of today and the future
- Keep your eyes closed to the ideas of others. Your mind too! Not invented here syndrome is rife and it involves shutting out another person’s/Groups ideas immediately without due consideration simply because they came up with it.
- Leaping to solutions before properly framing a problem because this satisfies the need for action – worse- implementing a solution before asking questions to frame the problem properly.
Attention Deficit Disorder Leads to Ideacide
Attention Deficit Disorder, it’s a challenge for any facilitator, it looks and sounds like this:
Not allowing sufficient time to explore and develop an idea before either implementing it and then failing to monitor whether the initiative is working or even worse committing ideacide immediately the idea is presented as an option.
I find that I am able to overcome the challenges and limitations presented by ideacide and attention deficit disorder with a lot of persistence and a little positive psychology in the form of appreciative inquiry.
There is no room for ideacide here, since the approach requires those with attention deficit disorder to hone their listening competence and be receptive to ideas while inquiring how those ideas might work in practice … That’s encouraging growth!
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