Tuesday, June 20, 2006

 

There are no stupid ideas

At HouseValues, we start every brainstorming session with a few simple rules. Perhaps most important: There are no stupid questions or ideas.

To have the most effective brainstorm, all assumptions and pretense need to stay in the hallway. Brainstorms are about establishing new ideas, challenging old assumptions, and thinking in a way that might otherwise be challenged or shouted down elsewhere.

Oftentimes in brainstorms, the best ideas are brilliant in their simplicity. Great ideas don’t always require reinventing the business. Sometimes they just require that we open a door, turn over a stone, or otherwise make a simple discovery that’s really just right in front of us.

Thinking in an environment where precedent, tradition and establishment can be challenged and questioned is essentially for discovering those simple but brilliant next steps for any business – big or small. “We’ve always done it that way” isn’t a reasonable answer. Answering “we ran the numbers on that last year, so we know we’re right” is equally dangerous. Last year was a LONG TIME AGO for most businesses, where competitive landscapes and consumer demands can changes dramatically in a matter of months, if not weeks.

Business breakthroughs are often born from stupid ideas and stupid questions. So keep asking.

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