A new idea is a fragile thing. Particularly as organizations mature and processes are adopted to streamline work, new ideas get crushed easily. This is a root contributing factor to the Innovator’s Dilemma. “We can’t do that because it’ll slow production.” “How can you expect us to be nimble but also repeatably produce high quality.” The business drivers for a mature organization are focused on customers, and the disruptive ideas that create greatest value in emerging markets often are the very ones that appear unattractive in established markets.
Protect your ideas. Find ways to make sure they are captured. Celebrate when new ideas come from unexpected places. Make them visible. Create space for ideas be played with, handled, tossed about, and nurtured. This is not the place for your fastidious process people (not to say there aren’t exceptions). Rather, you want people who can see opportunity, ask questions for the sake of curiosity, and think outside the constraints within which the company operates day-to-day. To do this well, sometimes a completely separate team is installed. Even better is if you can build a cross-functional team of people who understand their role changes when they step into the ‘inventing room’; that in this space we are like a start-up again; anything is possible and all ideas are worthy of our attention.