Soft Indicators to Kill an Idea

Michael Schrage in his HBR blogpost Three Signs That You Should Kill an Innovative Idea talks about three soft indicators that and Idea or an innovation project is not working for the company. I am happy he mentions serendipity or absence of serendipity as the first sign that things are not working. I would extend his argument and say it is a sign that universe is not really excited about the idea or the innovation and is hence not giving you any signs of accepting your effort. Almost always when things are working there are those serendipitous moments that give you an indication that you are moving in the right direction with some pleasant surprises like being accepted better than you expected, or things getting done faster, better or a quick solution around the corner.

I also like his second clue on no deeper insight. If you are not learning anything new, anything that takes you closer to the cause you are working for, then the idea many not be worth pursuing further. I would extend it to say that even if you pursue it may not give you any long term benefits or any unique advantage in the market place as you are not really getting closer to the real problem. Third clue on touching emotions sound not so logical but makes all the sense because all said and done we all operate from our emotions a lot of times specially when we make decision in our personal lives. Notice that all our decisions as customers of other brands and products are personal for us.

In all too logical world of business we sometimes tend to underplay the role of soft aspects like serendipity, deep insights and emotions but they are as much a part of our DNA as our left brain and contribute as much to commerce as our logical thinking.

Think about it.

Anuradha Goyal