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History is littered with examples of organizations playing it safe and missing opportunities — their chance to be the groundbreaking change-maker, forced into second fiddle because they did not take action until after the idea was implemented by someone else outside of their organization. In this Harvard Business Review article, David Burkus explores “a bias against new and creative ideas when we’re faced with even small amounts of uncertainty.”

Organizations can take steps to change cultural approaches, and that begins with perceptions around creativity and practicality.

  • A suggested solution to inherent “idea killing” cultures, is to change how ideas are processed and approved across an organization.
  • Research shows that people support creativity but generally choose more practically described ideas.
  • Because practicality is favored early on when ideas are shared, there is a pervasive problem of killing ideas before they are given a true opportunity to be developed and proven.
  • For example, Rite-Solutions set up an “idea market” where employees are given virtual currency to invest in project ideas.
  • Shelving the “idea-solution” approach in exchange for a “recognition-solution” approach, like the Rite-Solutions example, creating an organizational environment that elevates new ideas.

I read the article mentioned above (, and thought it was interesting. While I am not offering an endorsement of a strategy, tactics, thoughts, service nor a company or author, the information was intellectually stimulating and thoughtful and worth a review.