Tuesday, March 1, 2011

How to kill a good idea

10. Keep it to yourself.
Sure way that it’ll not see the light of the day. Soon somebody else will bring something similar to the table, and you’ll say, “..in year 2010, I was thinking about the same thing”.

9. Improve it – on paper.
It’s just an idea, which needs to be refined. Lets analyze and analyze again, create scenarios and keep doing it…till you get the feeling, it’s not going anywhere.
Get as many people to opine on it…get all the feedback and improve it. Sooner or later, the shape of the idea you started with will be mellowed down to unrecognizable.

8. Don’t time it.
When product release is only a few months away, you come up with a great design idea and try to get others involved into it. People may like it but they have no time to invest into it…soon it’ll be forgotten.

7. Don’t tailor it: If it worked for them, it’ll work for you too.
You discovered a great idea that is working wonders in another place…and believe that it will do the same for you. After all it’s a great idea…it’s got to work. Like serving the American favorite ‘cheese burger’ to Indian consumers.

6. Don’t worry about Practicality & Cost
Believe that if it’s a really good idea, it must be implemented at all costs. Who cares about the savings it brings in.

5. Think of the impact in isolation
When evaluating the impact of an idea, think of the benefits and problems as if it’s the only idea (or process) in play.

4. Be skeptical
Question all the time. When putting in effort into it, worry about what will happen if it fails…be tense…take extra defensive measures.

3. Be the only champion
It’s your idea and it should be seen like that. If someone else talks about it, make sure you add your own comments to it, correct the language if possible. Soon people will stop trying to champion it.

2. Pursue many of them together
There are so many good ideas you have, which deserve implementation. Start them together, so focus is lost, costs are high and people are confused. Most ideas will die soon..

1. Don’t follow up – Slow Death
Let it die a slow death…like most good ideas do. Start implementation…do it one week, skip it next week…be erratic and let other priorities take over. Results won’t show, slowly interest will be lost…soon nobody will remember it.  Mission accomplished!


  1. Nice post Rahul ! I especially see 3, 2 and 1 happening a lot. Also, another way of killing a good idea is to present it to too many people in a group when the idea is not mature enough. When you present something in a big group, people feel pride in pointing big loop holes and when one person does, more people follow. After such a session there are high chances of the presenter getting demotivated.
    - Pankaj

  2. Thanks Pankaj! Yes indeed, ideas need to be nurtured for a little while before exposing to a big group...besides nobody wants to spend the time looking at half basked ideas. Eventually, big group scrutiny is essential, and it is best to quickly to get to that point by strengthening the idea to withstand the barrage.

  3. I think no.10 was fantastic; keep the idea to urself and it will get killed without any great effort :)

  4. Re-read for the n'th time. Superbly well written. Imbibed some of these.


  5. jon said...
    Thanks for a great post.Really enjoy to read your article