5 easy ways to kill an idea

Organizations claim they are open, innovative, smart etc, but unquestionably every organization’s ability to kill an idea easily overtakes the ability to build an idea and deliver value to customers…from what I have seen below are the 5 easy ways to kill ideas with very less action.

1. Delay till all parties forget: Really 2 kinds here, first one is, accept ideas only during a small annual window (typically called jams or camps) or second kind to have the idea submitted in a system and just let it rust or decay there. In case of smaller companies that have not invested in systems this death may very well happen in someone’s Inbox.

2. Ask for details that are already known in a different format and then ask for more: This is common in the so called knowledge intensive industries, where there is a template to submit the idea, with so much detail that by the time you actually finish filling it, someone else has implemented the idea. It manifests as mandatory fields in web forms and also in workflows of the idea itself within the system, if it goes through.

3. Dissent the person, language, package, identity and talk nothing of the idea: Here the idea submitter is typically outside of the knowledge domain, but nevertheless has the urge to give an idea to people in the domain. Submitter gets beaten by jargon, rules, constraints, and other special linguistic tools that each domain has. Usually the submitter never returns after the first conversation. Manifests as status changes in the system with complex comments or as an email response with sentences averaging ~21 words each.

4. Hide the Station Master and his Suggestion Book: Manifestations will be announcements typically sent to media or emailed across a thousand people stating, there has been 100% conversion on ideas/suggestions that came to the station master, while no one has actually see the station master. For those of you familiar with the sub-continent might have seen the notice in all railway stations.

5. Install a large Suggestion box beside the front door and throw away the key: This is the second most common; no one really bothers to open the suggestion box. Manifestations will be usually some static content marketing page stating the organization is open to ideas and may also have some primitive classification of innovations.

There are other ways like making it really hard to form groups in the organization, equate busy to value, equate IP to value, measure performance from yesterday’s hindsight etc among others,

but these are either results of processes in action for a long time or current action.

So still the above 5 are the easiest ways to kill an idea.