How many “bad” ideas have you had in your career? If you are like me, you lost count long ago. However, what if that “bad” idea is just the seed for a truly great, innovative idea? For me, I frequently discard an idea before I even finish thinking it through or sharing and talking about it.
Here is the thing… you never know when, where or how that next great idea will come up. It may be your idea, an idea from a colleague, one of your employees or something else. If you don’t let yourself dream and be open to all the potential possibilities, then you and your company are missing out.
Discarding ideas as “bad” right off the bat closes you off to major opportunities. Before rejecting the next “bad” idea, just noodle on it. Let it percolate, think of all that can go right, the risks and how they can be mitigated.
Think back in time – recent and further back – and you will recall all kinds of great ideas: product ideas, technology ideas, process ideas, culture ideas and more. There are all kinds of ways to define an “idea.” For example, Southwest Airlines revolutionized the air travel industry by introducing the concept of low-cost air travel allowing more people to travel by air. Instead of trying to be all things to all people Southwest also only has one type of plane (Boeing 737) so everything is streamlined – including flight turn around at the airport. Southwest has the fastest average turn in the industry at 25 minutes from pulling up to the gate to pushing back. Although they started with a 10-minute goal, 25 minutes is still an outstanding achievement. This allows Southwest to have more flights per day, thus more passengers, which equals more money. Southwest didn’t have a “product” idea, but they had a “process” idea that created a culture and revolutionized an industry.
Other big ideas of recent times include the McDonalds franchise and how they use automation to service, produce and serve their food – basically putting a hamburger on an assembly line. And let’s not forget about Apple products, Google, Facebook, Ford Motor Company, AirBnB and so many other ideas that we typically take for granted.
What does this have to do with you, your business and that “bad” idea that may be great? Your idea may or may not be “innovative.” It may or may not revolutionize your business. It doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you consider a current or future business situation in your industry or your business and that you are open to changing it, perhaps in some radical way. Perhaps in a simple way.
Change is hard, but look for the nuggets in your ideas and let one or two of them come to life. Your business may soar as a result.
Let us know how you have applied new business ideas in your organization.
By Blair Koch