Daniel Hulter is an Air Force Technical Sergeant and the founder of Project Agitare.
The Art of Wandering Downhill
August 23, 2020
“One of the attendees is usually in charge, or at least has more political power than the others, and we all take turns contributing ideas for this decider to consider. Think about all of the factors involved here that might cause every one of us to hesitate to put forth a flawed idea, something partially formed or conceptually imperfect, the ideating equivalent of traveling downhill. Everything we say is going to be judged by every other participant, there is complete attribution, and it is one of those contexts in which leaders are making conscious and unconscious judgments about who is the smart one, looking out for how people perform. This is a perfect opportunity for them to jump to silly conclusions about who gets recommended for awards, positions, or promotions. As a result, it only makes sense to self-censor.”
“When ideas are in competition, it reduces our capacity for connection. But connection would be a far more powerful dynamic for fostering innovation than simply collecting the best existing ideas and discarding the rest. If we are playing a zero-sum game in which my loss is your gain, it necessarily inhibits co-creation and collaboration.”
“Consider that it is likely more important that you retain big thinkers and their creativity than that you retain the best, most immediately implementable ideas. A good innovation process would ideally retain both, and not inhibit our capacity for exploring at a greater distance.”