Groups Grow Or Kill New Ideas

With all the lip service we give to creativity in groups, people tend toward habits that grow or kill new ideas. What’s clear is that creativity is not a function of extrinsic incentives or pressure to come up with new ideas. New ideas grow when people know how to grow them together.

Four rubrics grow ideas: like, so, and and else.

Like is what we like about an idea. These are the functions and features that we think will work. So are the practical questions we can raise about any idea’s structure and implications. And is the addition of other elements that make them even stronger in transcending inherent problems that inevitably emerge with anything different from the norm. Else are the alternative ways to achieve similar purposes.

These simple and powerful strategies take groups from ambiguity to action. Action means prototyping the minimal viable products that can be field tested, improved and hopefully demonstrating success.

The process gets bogged down and even the potentially best ideas struggle and die when groups instead criticize, debate, defend and speculate on the merits of ideas in progress.

Ultimately, it matters less how individually creative and persuasive people are. What matters is how people together grow seedlings into thriving possibilities.