Time to Ban the “No Bad Ideas” Rule Of course there are bad ideas. Off-strategy, operationally-impossible or just plain silly ideas. To which we’re instructed to politely “yes and” in the name of unbridled creativity and team-building. All smiles on the outside – while internally, brains are distracted with reasons why the no-bad idea won’t work. (INSTEAD of thinking about the next good one!). Not their fault. Creatives are naturally critical. Still, such a waste of brain power and focus.
I’m not suggesting we allow idea bullying – fresh won’t flourish in a hostile environment. But you can diminish a bad idea’s power by inviting some worse ones to the table first. Two of my favorite breaking bad tricks:
- Quickly brainstorm ten really BAD ideas. Feed mayo to the tuna type of bad ideas. Off-brand, stock-dropping, make CEO fire the entire team kind of bad ideas.
- Next, pick three of the bad ideas and imagine a top competitor executed them. (We wish, right?) Now, brainstorm how your company might react or benefit from the competitor’s bad move.
- Find a fresh competitive idea hidden among your (fictional) responses
- Before brainstormers arrive, post a list of 3-5 “Evils” – solution absolutes that can’t be crossed. Things considered most “evil” to decision makers – like impacting retail operations or discounting product price.
- Divide into groups, giving each a different Evil and five note cards. Groups given 10 min. to brainstorm five ideas that ignore the evil. Write one idea per note card.
- Groups swap note-cards (and Evils). Give groups 15 min. to tweak at least 2 of the ideas so they are no longer Evil.
For more tips to better brainstorms email firstname.lastname@example.org