2 reasons to embrace the critics
Turn annoying colleagues into innovation assets
Many good ideas die because colleagues or managers tear them apart. Some people just love pointing out all the flaws in your plan. They have no problem telling you why something won’t work. Can’t you just evade these critics?
Sure you can. But you shouldn’t.
Embrace the critics
When generating creative ideas, criticism is not done. However, in the overall innovation process, you need a critical eye. An idea is rarely (if ever) perfect from the start. Usually quite some sharpening is needed to make implementation possible. Therefore it’s a good idea to pay attention to the critics.
In our model we embrace criticism in the evaluation phase. In this phase we carefully examine the ideas and pay close attention to risks, disadvantages and stakeholder interests that need to be taken into account.
You need people who are willing to point out all the flaws of an idea. These people can help you refine a rough idea. Together you can polish the idea until it shines so bright nobody can resist it any more. By eliminating disadvantages and taking risks into account, you’ll improve your chances of successful implementation.
By giving the critics a voice, you’ll create a robust plan that will survive the hard implementation phase.
Secure a broad support base
Asking the tough questions and improving an unripe idea are not the only ways your critical co-workers can contribute to the innovation process.
You want to include the known ‘naysayers’ much earlier in the process. If you expect certain individuals to thwart your project, ask them to help you generate ideas. Having these people share their ideas early on will make them much more eager to make the eventual plan work.
Prevent the ‘not invented here’ syndrome and secure a broad support base.
Getting them on board
Of course some people don’t see value in creative thinking and innovation. They’d rather stay exactly where they are and they detest change.
You have to convince these folks innovation is not as scary as they think. For one, it doesn’t have to be disruptive. It also doesn’t have to be high tech and it’s certainly not limited to a particular industry.
Yet, even if you have convinced your sceptical colleague that innovation is necessary and nothing to be afraid of, he or she might still consider his- or herself unfit for the creative process.
Many people wrongfully consider themselves to be uncreative. They believe creativity is a mysterious gift you have to be born with. Of course they are wrong, but it can be hard to explain this to them. The best approach in this situation is simple: let them experience their own creative genius.