Tag Archives: leadership

What’s a Good Idea Worth?

What’s a good idea worth? While we certainly can look to the great variety of paradigm-shifting innovations of our technological age and point to the profitability of the companies that sprung up around various ideas, or that served as their laboratory and incubator, this is not a sufficient answer, nor is it a truly fulfilling manner of trying to answer the question “what’s a good idea worth.” Why? Because under that rubric we need to define and measure profit in order to establish value. But many of the things that keep us showing up for work everyday slip under this profit/value equation, into the land of our subjective experience of how we feel when we give the best of ourselves, including our good ideas, to our efforts. This is value on the scale of the human heart and psyche, and it’s powered at least as much — if not more — by curiosity, playfulness, openness, and courage as it is by the desire to realize profitability.

If we’re to truly ask the question “what’s a good idea worth?” then we stretch beyond the idea of ROI, and into the intrinsic motivators that keep us engaging in our work lives with energy and passion.

Here are some thoughts on ways to measure the worth of a good idea:

  • Team bonding: did the good idea arise in collaboration? Then likely it leads to shared enthusiasm and also greater trust within teams.
  • Self-confidence and self-efficacy: did the good idea solve a vexing problem ? Chances are you now feel greater confidence in your abilities, and are likely to take on even greater challenges.
  • Optimism: a good idea brings with it a burst of possibility that carries strong positive feelings. As proponents of Positive Psychology tell us, this imparts numerous benefits, from feeling more connected to our families and coworkers to better physical health.
  • Leadership capacity: we want to be champions of our good ideas. When this happens, we naturally step into leadership behaviors, such as communicating our vision, leveraging our influence, and working to inspire others.

So, what’s it worth to businesses to have bonded, trusting teams, optimistic employees who demonstrate self-confidence and self-efficacy, and emerging leadership coming from the ranks of creative thinkers? A lot! These behaviors contribute enormously to a culture where good ideas proliferate and multiply — increasing the likelihood of profit generation and cost savings that businesses depend upon. What’s a good idea worth? If understood properly, probably more than we know!

Image Credit: Flickr via BusinessInsider

Big Questions

…or The 10 Things You Need to Know About Creativity

I’m exposed to a fair amount of social writings on creativity. From LinkedIn group digests to Fast Company articles, this results in a pretty constant stream of attention-grabbing (and comfortably quantified) leads, such as “The 5 Things Creative People Do Before Breakfast,” “Eight Rules for Fool-Proof Innovation,” and “How This One Dumb Trick Can Melt Your Creative Inhibitions.”

While I don’t begrudge the authors for angling for my attention this way — after all I’ve probably done it myself  — I am struck by the certitude of the statements. Ironic, because creativity is fueled by questions. It’s in asking the right question in the right way at the right time that gives us creative traction.

Big Questions in Creativity 2013This is one reason I’m proud to have a chapter in the recently published Big Questions in Creativity 2013: A Volume of First Works, Vol. 1. The book, a collection of ten graduate research papers, is published by the ICSC Press, the imprint of the International Center for Studies in Creativity, my alma mater. I’m also proud to be among peers exploring such diverse questions as “What is Creative Economy?,” “How Might Creative Problem Solving Combat Bullying?” and “What is the Role of Creativity in Talent Development?” To be sure, we do more than ask questions — we synthesize information, arrive at conclusions and make recommendations. But it all begins with a Big Question.

So if your appetite for writings on creativity extends beyond pithy headline reporting and into what editors Cynthia Burnett and Paul Reali call a “vibrant and often messy ‘multilogue'” designed to spur “new, provocative questions about the field of creativity,” then here’s The 1 Thing You Need To Do: buy this book.

(My chapter for those who are interested is “What are the Natural Relationships Between Creativity and Leadership,” a topic I’ve blogged on before.)