Anyone who has ever had success in their life will tell you without bad ideas (and the mistakes that follow) they had on their journey, that they would not be where they are today. These mistakes and bad ideas will always be a melting pot/catalyst for significant change.
I see too many people afraid of making bad ideas, often because it leads to a sense of failure, being not good enough and all the self-doubt that follows!
But do you know that bad ideas can be a gift?
Every successful person can attest that the mistakes they made all throughout their journey helped them to be where they are today. In fact, if you asked any of your mentors, or your coaches, they will recall the one bad idea that turned out to be the best thing they did!
Five years ago, I jumped out of corporate with no idea about what I was going to do…I just trusted that I would work it out! The services I offered were, to be honest, pretty bad – but I believed in what I wanted to create, and so, I kept working on what I offered, my pricing and how I delivered my services – until it the bad idea turned into something amazing!
Think of an inventor, or explorer choosing the path less travelled, and pursuing a crazy idea. In reality, many of your bad ideas might just be bad ideas, but others will be the stepping stones to your successes…
To help you embrace your Bad Ideas, here are 5 simple ways to use your bad ideas for good!
The first thing to do is not to let an idea go! Capturing your idea – when it is just forming – allows you to dig deeper.
So, start by writing all the ideas that come to your head, whether good or bad in a notebook, an iPad, on your mobile phone, or tablet. The act of capturing your ideas will become a process of clearing your mind – so that you create space for new ideas to form.
Sort and categorise
This is where the magic happens
Once you have your ideas. Start to sort them between the best/worst ideas. For your great ideas – ask how you can implement them in your business. For the ones you think are bad, sort through them one by one and group them into categories like products, operations, innovations, or crazy thoughts. By doing this, you may find that your single crazy idea, when paired with another idea will actually create something brilliant! Grouping ideas together is like an individual brainstorming session that has the power of uncovering some hidden gems that would otherwise remain completely hidden!
Review and analyse
After grouping ideas it’s time to go deep and begin thinking about your conceptualisation process.
So often, we you have ideas popping into your head, we let them go. But, when we stop, record, and group them, we create the opportunity to analyse them.
So, start to unpacking your ideas. Ask questions like
“Why do we think that it is a bad idea?
Is the world not yet ready for these bad ideas?
Do I have resources for these bad ideas?
If this was a good idea, what would look different?”
This process ensures you are always open to finding a great idea amongst a terrible one! This step is about focusing on unpacking, tweaking, and improving the idea to turn it from bad to great!
Give them time to grow
Now that you have reviewed your ideas, and perhaps revisited a few that you had discarded, the next step is to provide space (and resources) for them to grow.
Creative thought is a trial-and-error process that requires failure, while bad ideas can be building blocks to creative thought, sometimes they are in fact actually good ideas — just ones that nobody else understands yet.
Who would have thought that after film cameras there would be digital cameras where you can easily see those good and bad photos? Or the Pennyfarthing would become a BMX bike?
That sending messages to anyone instantly – without writing them down and needing to post them – would be possible, let alone not having to wait for weeks/months or even years for a reply!?
Come to think of it, ideas just like these, which were once ridiculed, have led to some of the greatest inventions in history. Amazing right? Your idea may just be the NEXT BIG THING!
Finally, the key to nurturing your ideas is to Embrace the bad on the way to the good.
Ideas are like babies; they need time to grow. So, give your bad ideas a chance; combine them, dig a little deeper, and grant them a bit more time.
Bad ideas are still ideas, and if you’d come up with them, there’s probably a good reason for that. Creative processes are long and full of risk.
So, remember to list and archive your bad or “unselected” ideas and give yourself the opportunity to come back to them later to inspire you to solve new problems or challenges.