There are no bad ideas (except for a few obvious ones). Many bad ideas are actually good; they might just need a little work. For instance, a few years ago, I went to Istanbul for an EO conference. When I mentioned the trip to my mom, she told me she would like to come along. It was the year of her 70th birthday so I agreed that she should join, but quietly I wondered if this was just a bad idea. I was worried that I would be more focused on her well-being than on the conference and the speakers I wanted to hear, and if she would be able to handle the late nights and early mornings of the trip.
A small group of us attending the conference also planned a side trip to Cappadocia, the hot air balloon capital of the world. While we were there, Mom said she wanted to participate in the hot air balloon ride with the group. I thought this was a bad idea since she is afraid of heights, but since this was for her birthday, I did not want to discourage her from trying something new. Turns out I was wrong; this bad idea was a good one! She had the best time and many years later (I won’t say how many, she may hurt me if I did ?), she still talks about how wonderful that trip was and the amazing people she met. That Istanbul trip which seemed like a bad idea ended up being a great one. To this day when I go to an EO conference she asks to tag along, and when she doesn’t come friends ask why she did not attend. That is usually the question that pops up before they even ask me how I am doing!
How often do we worry about whether an idea is bad, and decide to not share it because we are afraid of what others may think? Yet, you know if you give in to that fear, you won’t get the opportunity to discuss your bad idea with others, build on it and make it a good or even great one. Many of my topics for this blog come from people sharing their ideas with me, having a conversation about them, and ultimately making them better. The Friday Food for Thought was initially just for our internal team and was meant to be short lived. Some members of the team suggested that I continue to write them- a terrible idea, now I have one more thing on my plate! Others suggested that I share it with my network, another terrible idea since I consider myself a bad writer.
Those bad ideas have morphed into me writing FFfT for over five years and distributing it to thousands. I found work arounds for my bad writing by having folks edit my “not so well” English, which has somewhat improved my writing! And if I’m struggling to think of a topic or when writer’s block strikes, I’ll invite guest writers to offer a new perspective. The blog also opened up new opportunities to reconnect with old friends, explore interesting topics and sometimes even help someone. And my English is gooder ?.
We gain a lot from what we consider to be bad ideas; it could be a once in a lifetime trip, or it could be a blog that many find useful and engaging. So, let’s hear it, what bad ideas do you have? How can we improve on them? Let’s brainstorm.
“No one knows what’s a good idea or a bad idea until you try it.”– Marc Randolph
I would suggest that you have some bad ideas this weekend…but that may be a bad idea.