— Any company in any business can work towards superior thinking and planning – becoming a true Ideas Company with a competitive edge as sharp as any technological lead.
— Thinking can be both thought about and taught, just like financial management.
— Creative debate is often stifled by the dominance of the proposer (often the chief executive).
— Emotions are as important as objective analysis or behaviour.
— Ideas are often killed by being ‘Not invented here’. Ideas can of course be internally generated. But it doesn’t make them better than ideas generated externally.
— Hierarchy is the enemy of the free flow of ideas. Aim to generate ideas from the bottom of the company up.
— Major innovation, outside existing activities, will fail if it is pursued inside the existing corporate structure and culture. (Christensen).
— Set up independent departments to handle innovative ideas, with freedom to create their own timetables, budgets and cultures.
— Adopt a disciplined approach to generating ideas. But don’t expect them to come from meetings.
For ideas to come successfully from meetings ensure the following:
1. lots of ideas are placed on the table
2. the alternatives are given full and fair hearing
3. those present represent a range of talents and interests e.g. different departments and functions and add outsiders to the mix
4. Insist that everyone comes to the meeting with ,say, three ideas
5. Get participants to speak in rotation
6. Allocate each participant the same amount of time
7. Participants can ask for explanation but should not condemn or reject ideas out of hand
8. A leader should summarise and make decisions
9. Rotating the leadership for each meeting ensures the group becomes a genuine thinking team