I’m not talking about developing ideas and getting to market.
I’m talking about thinking something through, making a decision, and if it’s not meant to be moving on to the next thing.
Lots of energy is spent about getting ideas to market faster. But I think we should pay more attention to the time lines for killing ideas that just aren’t going to make it.
Too often we let ideas linger. Either through indecision, inertia, or sometimes just the lack of courage to take action.
What’s the harm? Well, the problem is that most of us has limited creative and literal resources. So if we spend time on dead-ends, it may be keeping us from applying energy to other ideas.
Recently I met with the guys from Ozo Labs and they were very upfront about some mistakes and lessons they’ve learned in this area. They’ve spent too much time lingering in the zone of “going nowhere”.
So now they either do one of two things: 1) set a finite limit on the exploration of any one idea (ex. 3 months) or 2) give the idea to someone out side of the core group to explore. That way they have a fresh set of ideas looking at the opportunity, and the core group is freed up to move onto something else.
Last month I was on a panel with a terrific woman from Hasbro who is in charge of consumer insights. Given the nature of the toy business, they are coming out with 1,000’s of new SKU’s every year. They can’t afford to waste any time. So they’ve gotten really good at saying no …definitively – and early on.
Rather than quash innovation, this actually helps encourage it. It keeps the passion and energy level high instead of letting it get wasted on ideas that don’t have a real chance.
Are you spending too much time kicking the same tired ideas around? It may be keeping you from uncovering some better ideas. Next time, try setting a time limit on idea exploration. It might actually help you speed things up.
That’s my point of view. What’s your twist?
Do you have the discipline to move on quickly from dead-end ideas?