• 06.01.04

What’s the Big Idea? II

FC Now reader Jeff De Cagna and Dean make some headway in a comments-driven conversation related to an earlier entry.

De Cagna suggests that part of the challenge in collecting and implementing ideas stems from leaders who see their role as “idea filter.”

Some managers view their role as that of idea filter. On one level, I suppose, that isn’t such a terrible thing, except that the size of filter is so small that only ideas that look and feel the same as those that have been raised in the past can make it through. Truly radical ideas never make it past the managerial level.

Dean ties that into the need to pursue small ideas rather than large ones:

This is why Alan and I stress small ideas and driving decision making down to the lowest level that makes sense. The implementation and integration of big ideas or project requires lots and lots of small ideas if it is to go smoothly, or even work at all. As a company, managers, and front-line people learn how to implement small ideas more quickly and easily, a foundation for making big changes less painful and difficult is built.

In fact, the book offers a simple process for determining whether small ideas have the makings of a big idea:

  • Can this idea be used elsewhere in the organization?
  • What other ideas does this one suggest?
  • Are there any patterns in the ideas that have come in?