May 2015

The Five Stages Of Idea Acceptance

2015-05-26T18:11:59-04:00 Categories: SandBlog|Tags: , , |

The book What A Great Idea! 2.0 by Chic Thompson is chock full o’ bits of wisdom that help with creativity and creating new ideas.

One bit Chic writes about, is how new ideas are often struck down with “killer phrases.” These phrases reflect the lack of acceptance of something new or different.

We’re all aware of these killer phrases, the killjoy of innovation. People, armed with phrases, jab with…

  • It’ll never work…
  • The only problem with that is…
  • In this economy?
  • Oh yeah, we tried that in ’98… didn’t work.
  • You’re kidding, right?
  • ______________________ ← your favorite here!

Chic points out that killer phrases “are as inevitable in the innovation process as ideas themselves.”

He adds, “psychologists have said that the human reaction to a new idea unfolds something like this, which we could call the Five Stages Of Idea Acceptance.” I’ve turned this list into a handy graphic suitable for framing.

The door-lock analogy is pretty accurate… You can have four of the five locks open, but the door is still closed until all five are unlatched.


By knowing the stages you can either:
(a) have already figured out how to…

  • make it relevant
  • prove it
  • make it safe, and
  • show it is saleable

…when you present it. Or at least:
(b) be aware each of these need to be unlocked as you champion the idea.

Happy locksmithing!

August 2009

You May Be Wrecking Your Own Innovation

2009-09-25T10:55:43-04:00 Categories: SandBlog|Tags: , , , |

Innovative ideas – the kind that can transform your company – are inadvertently being demolished. When first presented, many ideas meet wrecking-ball comments such as…

  • “How’s that going to work?”
  • “Good luck getting that done!”
  • “We don’t have time for something like that.” And the classic,
  • “Doesn’t work… Trust me… We tried that years ago.”

We’ve all heard (or perhaps said) killer phrase comments like these. These are offered as a “public service” to the team to prevent us from going off track and wasting time.

But, what have we really accomplished?

  • Yes… we’ve kept the meeting on schedule.

But we also,

  • have made the suggester feel stupid,
  • are causing people to hold back their creativity, and
  • may have destroyed the next big idea.

Instead of immediately leveling them, what if we built on new ideas?

Ninety-nine percent of innovative ideas aren’t simply blurted out in their final form. They need development to reveal their full potential.

Instead of destruction, try construction. Use the idea as a foundation and see how tall we can build the framework. If we want to be as innovative as possible, instead of saying “Yeah, but…” try “And, if…”

What’s the worst that could happen?

We’ve wasted 120 seconds on a thought that, in the end, won’t work?

But what’s the best that could happen?

Perhaps we construct something that does solve the challenge. Even better, maybe it morphs into something completely different – something incredible!

As a bonus, we’ve made the suggester feel valued and perpetuate creative, open thinking – the stuff that leads to future innovative breakthroughs!

In these competitive times, when innovation is considered one of the single most important factors to the continued success of a company… Spare the “Yeah but…” wrecking ball, use “And if…” to construct your own innovation.

May 2007

Basic Disciplines of a Good Pitch

2012-06-22T19:17:52-04:00 Categories: SandBlog, think|Tags: , , |

New ideas often make people uncomfortable. Many new projects and ideas need a champion to gain acceptance from others. Being able to pitch ideas is an invaluable business (and life) tool.

A terrific guide to effective building and successful pitching of ideas is the book Life’s a Pitch: How to be Businesslike with Your Emotional Life and Emotional With Your Business Life by Stephen Bayley & Roger Mavity.

I’ll be providing a full review in a future post… but wanted to provide this helpful checklist to help you better pitch your ideas.

Basic Disciplines of a Good Pitch

  • Find a calm space to think in [for preparation].
  • Remember that people’s emotions count for more than logic
    [appeal to the heart as well as the head].
  • Think through your proposition before you spell it out.
  • Articulate it in the simplest way.
  • Don’t go for an unattainable perfect solution, go for what works.
  • Focus on what it means to them, not what it means to you.

April 2006

New Ideas: Pause Before You Pounce

2017-08-20T17:46:17-04:00 Categories: Sand for Your Inbox|Tags: , , , |

New ideas can lead to innovations. Often the speed in which we conduct business causes us to make rapid decisions. As a result, we may be robbing ourselves of good ideas.

New ideas can be fragile things. We’ve all experienced it… In a meeting, you muster up the courage to offer a new or unique thought that you feel will make a difference. The idea immediately gets quashed by a cynic or someone playing “devil’s advocate.”

“We tried that before…”

“That’ll never work.”

“Good luck!”

As quickly as it was described, the idea is killed. A way to prevent the premature ruin of ideas, consider pausing before you pounce.

Matt Kingdon, in his book “Sticky Wisdom: How To Start a Creative Revolution at Work” calls this pause “greenhousing.” This behavior “protects young ideas when they are at their most vulnerable, and nurtures them into healthy growth.” Greenhousing requires three key steps…

  1. Suspend – It doesn’t matter if it’s a good idea or not, don’t evaluate it at first. Hold your judgement. Be positive.
  2. Understand – Put yourself in the shoes of the person suggesting the idea. Listen. Ask questions if you don’t understand. (Supporting questions not barbed questions).
  3. Nurture – Add or build on the idea. Brainstorm more on how to make the idea even stronger. Add value.

(A way to remember these is that they form the acronym S.U.N.)

Next time you find yourself about to pounce… consider replacing the negative comments with positive comments. For example…

“That won’t work…”
“That’s impossible…”
“It’s not good enough…”
“We don’t have time for this…”
“Yes, but…”
“What could work?
“What is possible?”
“Forget perfection.”
“What could we stop to make time?”
“A build on that idea would be…”

By replacing judgement with building you allow an idea to grow into something better or even transform into something completely different.

Admittedly, this change in behavior requires practice. But if you integrate this into your daily interactions, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to discover the ideas you’ve been missing.

Related and Suggested Reading:

I give each of these books my highest recommendation. In fact, I’m so confident… if you buy any of them and don’t like them… I’ll repay the cost of the book!

Change the Way You See Everything: Through Asset Based Thinking
by Kathryn Cramer and Hank Wasiak

Kathy and Hank outline the philosophy of approaching people, places and things from an “have” vs. a “have not” perspective. I’ve purchased 15 copies of this book just to give to folks who I think could use the knowledge!

Sticky Wisdom: How to Start a Creative Revolution at Work
by Matt Kingdon

I could NOT put this book down. It helped inspire the topic of this newsletter. Matt outlines six key behaviors (including greenhousing) that make creativity “accessible to everyone.”

The Ten Faces of Innovation
by Tom Kelley

Tom describes ten roles (faces) people may possess and outlines the value each role contributes to the innovation process.

Have more, better ideas by nurturing them and avoiding hasty judgments.