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How to Kill a Radical Idea

How to Kill a Radical Idea

How to Kill a Radical Idea

    Einstein said that all great original ideas at first appear absurd.  This is why it is so easy to dismiss radical suggestions when they surface.  We point out that they are absurd and so miss great opportunities.  How would you react if an unorthodox business idea was presented to you and you could immediately see problems with it?   Imagine that you are the boss in each of these situations:

    1.  Spectacles manufacturer in the 1960s

    Employee: I think we should investigate a new idea I have heard about called contact lenses.

    Boss: How does it work?

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    Employee: We make prescription lenses that people attach to their eyeballs so that they can see well without spectacles.

    Boss: You mean I stick a piece of glass onto my eyeball?

    Employee: It could be glass or plastic.

    Boss: That is ridiculous.  What if it slipped behind the eye?  What if it damaged the eye?  We could be sued for millions.  No-one is going to want something so dangerous and inconvenient.  Spectacles are safe, cheap and popular.  Let’s focus on doing what we know.

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    2.  Radio manufacturer in the 1980s

    Employee: I read about this guy Trevor Bayliss who has invented a clockwork radio.  It is an interesting idea – do you think we should look at this?

    Boss: Don’t be silly.  I heard about this too.  It will never catch on.

    Employee: Really?

    Boss: Sure.  Let me give you three reasons.  First radios need electricity and the easiest way to get that is through the mains or batteries – that is what consumers and the trade want.  Secondly the radio will have to be really big to contain the winding mechanism.  Third, the radio will suddenly stop in the middle of a programme waiting to be wound up – how annoying will that be?  Customers want convenience – not the bother of stopping to wind up a radio every 10 minutes.

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    Employee: I guess you are right.

    3.  Website entrepreneur in 2000s

    Programmer: I have this idea for a new social media site.

    Boss: Great.  How does it work?

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    Programmer: People can make short broadcasts of up to 140 characters.

    Boss: 140 characters!  Why restrict them?  Can they add pictures, music and videos?

    Programmer: No – it is just a box for 140 characters of text.

    Boss: Don’t be silly.  Facebook and Myspace already offer far more than that.  We need something more exciting than a text box.  How about we copy Facebook and add more features?

    See how easy it is?  Every day in every organisation bosses are rejecting interesting ideas because the ideas look silly.  How can you overcome this problem?  You train people to ask questions rather than be judgmental.  When somebody comes to you with a bizarre idea do not find fault with it; instead ask questions.  How could we make it work?  What are the benefits for customers if this happened?  Is there a better way to do this?

    If you want innovation in your organisation then you must encourage people at all levels to welcome, entertain and explore crazy ideas – they are the ones that can lead to breakthroughs.

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    Paul Sloane

    Professional Keynote Speaker, Author, Innovation Expert

    How to Win an Argument – Dos, Don’ts and Sneaky Tactics How to Get Rich: 11 Bold Moves That Guarantee Wealth How to be a Brilliant Conversationalist Think Laterally Write A Killer Resume In Seven Easy Steps

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    Last Updated on June 18, 2019

    15 Ways to Cultivate Continuous Learning for a Sharper Brain

    15 Ways to Cultivate Continuous Learning for a Sharper Brain

    Assuming the public school system didn’t crush your soul, learning is a great activity. It expands your viewpoint. It gives you new knowledge you can use to improve your life. It is important for your personal growth. Even if you discount the worldly benefits, the act of learning can be a source of enjoyment.

    “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” — Mark Twain

    But in a busy world, it can often be hard to fit in time to learn anything that isn’t essential. The only things learned are those that need to be. Everything beyond that is considered frivolous. Even those who do appreciate the practice of lifelong learning, can find it difficult to make the effort.

    Here are some tips for installing the habit of contiuous learning:

    1. Always have a book

    It doesn’t matter if it takes you a year or a week to read a book. Always strive to have a book that you are reading through, and take it with you so you can read it when you have time.

    Just by shaving off a few minutes in-between activities in my day I can read about a book per week. That’s at least fifty each year.

    2. Keep a “To-Learn” List

    We all have to-do lists. These are the tasks we need to accomplish. Try to also have a “to-learn” list. On it you can write ideas for new areas of study.

    Maybe you would like to take up a new language, learn a skill or read the collective works of Shakespeare. Whatever motivates you, write it down.

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    3. Get More Intellectual Friends

    Start spending more time with people who think. Not just people who are smart, but people who actually invest much of their time in learning new skills. Their habits will rub off on you.

    Even better, they will probably share some of their knowledge with you.

    4. Guided Thinking

    Albert Einstein once said,

    “Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.”

    Simply studying the wisdom of others isn’t enough, you have to think through ideas yourself. Spend time journaling, meditating or contemplating over ideas you have learned.

    5. Put it Into Practice

    Skill based learning is useless if it isn’t applied. Reading a book on C++ isn’t the same thing as writing a program. Studying painting isn’t the same as picking up a brush.

    If your knowledge can be applied, put it into practice.

    In this information age, we’re all exposed to a lot of information, it’s important to re-learn how to learn so as to put the knowledge into practice.

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    6. Teach Others

    You learn what you teach. If you have an outlet of communicating ideas to others, you are more likely to solidify that learning.

    Start a blog, mentor someone or even discuss ideas with a friend.

    7. Clean Your Input

    Some forms of learning are easy to digest, but often lack substance.

    I make a point of regularly cleaning out my feed reader for blogs I subscribe to. Great blogs can be a powerful source of new ideas. But every few months, I realize I’m collecting posts from blogs that I am simply skimming.

    Every few months, purify your input to save time and focus on what counts.

    8. Learn in Groups

    Lifelong learning doesn’t mean condemning yourself to a stack of dusty textbooks. Join organizations that teach skills.

    Workshops and group learning events can make educating yourself a fun, social experience.

    9. Unlearn Assumptions

    You can’t add water to a full cup. I always try to maintain a distance away from any idea. Too many convictions simply mean too few paths for new ideas.

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    Actively seek out information that contradicts your worldview.

    Our minds can’t be trusted, but this is what we can do about it to be wiser.

    10. Find Jobs that Encourage Learning

    Pick a career that encourages continual learning. If you are in a job that doesn’t have much intellectual freedom, consider switching to one that does.

    Don’t spend forty hours of your week in a job that doesn’t challenge you.

    11. Start a Project

    Set out to do something you don’t know how. Forced learning in this way can be fun and challenging.

    If you don’t know anything about computers, try building one. If you consider yourself a horrible artist, try a painting.

    12. Follow Your Intuition

    Lifelong learning is like wandering through the wilderness. You can’t be sure what to expect and there isn’t always an end goal in mind.

    Letting your intuition guide you can make self-education more enjoyable. Most of our lives have been broken down to completely logical decisions, that making choices on a whim has been stamped out.

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    13. The Morning Fifteen

    Productive people always wake up early. Use the first fifteen minutes of your morning as a period for education.

    If you find yourself too groggy, you might want to wait a short time. Just don’t put it off later in the day where urgent activities will push it out of the way.

    14. Reap the Rewards

    Learn information you can use. Understanding the basics of programming allows me to handle projects that other people would require outside help. Meeting a situation that makes use of your educational efforts can be a source of pride.

    15 .Make Learning a Priority

    Few external forces are going to persuade you to learn. The desire has to come from within. Once you decide you want to make lifelong learning a habit, it is up to you to make it a priority in your life.

    In fact, you can train your brain to crave lifelong learning! Here’s how to become a lifelong learner:

    How to Train Your Brain to Crave Lifelong Learning (And Why It’s Good)

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    Featured photo credit: Paul Schafer via unsplash.com

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