Ideas are a critical to the invention, evolution and optimisation of systems of any kind, whether we're talking about organisational change, inventing new products or startups or helping fix problems with older products and systems. In western culture, an abundance of ideas opitomises the creative spirit. But new ideas also come with insidious taxes. Aside from being the building blocks of any thoughtful endeavour, ideas can also be incredibly damaging to productivity and progress. 

An excess inventory of physical things can be visibly evident, you can see it in piles of boxes lying around obscuring view, tying up critical resources. And it's exactly the same if you're working within any system or process that's creating new products or optimising older ones. It's just that the resources are human beings and the materials are ideas.

 
When you're working as part of a team, one person's idea can often be just another thing the rest of the team is forced to deal with. Every idea requires validation and careful consideration to understand the implications for other parts of a system.
 
Ideas should be handled like a vital commodity, they are critically important but if we're consuming any form of human resource such as creativity and ingenuity in order to create and validate those ideas and consider a spectrum of alternatives, then we're creating more work than we need to create and that's wasteful.
 
I'm not saying we shouldn't have ideas at all, that would be ridiculous. But we need to make sure we're conceiving of ideas to solve the right problems and capitalise on the right opportunity but most critically, that we're attempting to do this at the right moment. 
Mike Laurie

Mike Laurie

Mike plans digital things, mostly services, usually quite sociable ones. He lives in South East London with his wife and 3 kids. Despite working for 10 years with brands such as BlackBerry, Nestlé, Channel4, Sky and Cancer Research, Mike still hasn't managed to work out what it is he really wants to be when he grows up.
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