Always Share Your Stupid Idea

David Moskal Innovation


Always Share Your Stupid Idea

As adults, we always fear looking stupid in front of others, especially our boss.

One of the hardest parts of an idea generation session is allowing yourself to let go. Allowing yourself to stop filtering your crazy ideas.

When you share an idea, it gives your team the opportunity to build off of it. An idea will spark different things to different people and that’s why diversity is so important in an ideation session. Even when you think your idea is garbage, say it out loud anyways. The more laughter and energy in your session the better and more creative the ideas will be.

The worst thing you can do is not say your idea because you think others might not like it or agree with it. If you only share the ‘safe’ ideas, you won’t come up with anything innovative.

When someone shares a crazy idea, resist the urge to shut it down right away, even if in your head you think that it won’t work. Negativity will discourage your team from sharing more ideas.

Here is an example of what this could look like:

Narrative: We have important information and updates to share with our staff. The current newsletter format has gone stale and our staff are no longer reading the important internal update publications. We need your help.

Mission of the session: We need ideas for new ways to communicate internal news with our staff.

Imagine these two potential storylines for the idea generation session:

Story 1

Joe: “We should put implants in everyone’s head so we can read each other’s thoughts!”
Sue: Laughs.“Or what if instead of implants we give everyone virtual reality headsets!”
Emily: “Maybe we build virtual reality rooms so that staff can experience the updates in the form of a game!”
Mark: “Why not make the whole thing a fun game for staff?”
Emily: “What if we had a game with a points system?”
Joe: “Ok, so how about there is a pop-quiz type game at the end of the publication to ensure the staff read the important news and they can collect points towards some sort of benefit or prize?”
Mark: “What kind of prize?”
Joe: “Not too sure yet, but we can figure that out later. First, let’s see if the concept is any good.”
Emily: “I think that just might work! Let’s make a quick mock-up of how that could work and share the idea around to get some quick feedback.”

Story 2

Joe thinks to himself, “We should put implants in everyone’s head so we can read each other’s thoughts.” No, that’s stupid. Why bother even saying that?
Joe: “What if we send better emails?”
Mark: “Yeah let’s try that. Maybe we can add more colours and images too!”

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When we facilitate ideation sessions, our job is to be the ‘stupidest person in the room.’ We will throw out some absurd ideas because that is what the team needs to hear. If we are saying crazy things, then that gives the team permission to say crazy things.

We also push for speed so that you don’t have time to over analyze your idea and talk yourself out of it before you even explore it.

When that crazy idea is said out loud, who knows what will spark for someone else and where the idea will go.

The next time you are trying to come up with ideas with your team, throw out something totally whacky and see where it goes! You’ll be amazed at what you come up with.

Here are a few rules to live by when creating ideas:

1) There is no such thing as a bad idea
2) Don’t shut down an idea that you don’t like, build off of it instead
3) Set a timer to push yourself to go fast and not overthink

At the end of the day, don’t hold back… Say your stupid idea.

If you are looking to come up with some “wacky” ideas for an opportunity within your organization, check out our free Idea Generation Session!