Always Take Note Of Original Ideas

Large projects often turn out differently from where they once started. Sometimes that's a good thing, but sometimes it's hugely problematic. When you start anything new, take note of all the original ideas on the table. When problems arise later, it helps to go back and review your initial thoughts.

Picture: Veerachai Viteeman/Shutterstock

Sometimes the best ideas don't require much revision, but after aggressive criticism enters the playing field revisions happen nevertheless. Productivity and ideas blog the 99u explains how this happens and why it's a problem:

A fundamental strength of teams is that each person brings their own unique knowledge and perspective to the table. This is the crux of the classic "wisdom of crowds" effect first documented early in the last century — that is, the judgment of a group of people will usually be superior to the judgment of any individual in that group. In a creative setting, this could apply to problems like estimating product sales or predicting project timelines. But crucially, this group wisdom effect only applies when each person's input is kept independent and free of outside influence. A team of Swiss and Hungarian researchers showed this in 2011 — group wisdom was undermined when team members were given the chance to modify their initial answers based on feedback about what others had said.

Before calling your project finished, just remember to look back at your original ideas and ensure you've taken your project in the best direction. You can always take a step back if it means taking better steps forward later on.

5 Evidence-Based Ways to optimise Your Teamwork [The 99u]


    Great ideas die all the time, because they are killed at birth, unable to defend themselves, mercilessly dismissed as garbage.

    Be careful who you share your ideas with, not because they'll steal them, but because they're likely to kill them. Keep them safe and nurture them, and be careful and selective who you pass your infant ideas to.

    Remember: The people you know who are average (or thereabouts) got that way by saying 'no' most of the time to potentially amazing opportunities. They feel so inclined, and will kill your ideas at the first opportunity.

    If you respect someone in the way that you want the life or career they have, and you trust them and can 'dialogue' your idea (no pitch it up for being shot down' this is the kind of person you want to share god ideas with. They'll ask questions and get you to think about your idea, maybe help you see whether it really is good or not, or see other merit in your idea which you probably didn't see before, or even extend the idea to cover something it didn't in the first place.

    Just be careful, ideas are very precious things - treat them with care.

      I wholeheartedly disagree.

      Any idea you have which you think is worthwhile should be shared with as many people as will listen. Every single one of them will have a unique insight, from the smallest of tiny inconsequential suggestions that turn out to be core concept changing, right through to the big over-arching questions (like "Why"?).

      Sure, you'll get those who shoot it down and try to kill it, but if you're giving up just because of them, then it sounds like you need more perspective. Having said that, if you give the idea to someone who just says "no" without asking questions, then you should leave it there and move on to the next person who wont waste your time.

      By sharing your idea, it forces you to crystalize every little detail, how it will work, what the exact benefits are to those it will affect, and give you a whole massive list of actionable items to get started on.

      Never forget that ideas are a dime a dozen. It's the willpower to follow through and implement that idea which is much rarer. If you're the only one who can follow through with that idea, then it doesn't matter who knows about it, you'll still be the one who has to do the actual work to complete it.

        Your logic is, No matter how bad an idea is, if you share it with everyone and persist, it will come to fruition - this itself is flawed, because if the idea is rejected 100% of the time as bad, and it requires x1 acceptance, then it will never come to fruition. Eg, Starting a business based on selling shit sandwiches (not a metaphor, actual shit on a sandwich). Persist with that idea and see how it goes.

        Persistence does not a good idea make.

        Ideas are not subject to selection by survival of the most persistent individual - even bad ideas can be successfully pitched and adopted by billions of people (eg, religion).

        My logic is, Be selective about sharing your ideas, because good ones and bad ones are equally fragile at birth. It's a qualitative approach, rather than a brute-force attitude.

          Hmm, well I certainly agree with your sentiments there.

          I guess my final logic is; Don't be selective about sharing your ideas, but be selective (in a smart way) about who's suggestions you listen to.

          Using your example of a shit sandwich - if you believe in it, then you should share it. Share it with everyone who will listen, but don't bother listening to those people who categorically say "no" without backing it up. If you find a consensus of people providing evidence / good arguments as to why it's a bad idea, then it probably is, and you might want to shelve that one and move on.

          I've found that there are people who otherwise would provide useless advice that end up giving a little nugget of gold when you share an idea with them, or who can suddenly articulate an amazing argument against the idea that you might never have thought of because you never considered their life / experience as one of those "careers you want to have", etc.

          I get the feeling we're arguing for the same thing, from opposite directions - the best approach might be to meet in the middle between what we're saying ;)

            There's the rub - you can't ask for feedback and then choose which feedback you listen to based on whether you value the feedback, because you need to listen to it in order to evaluate it.

            I agree that it's important to look for supporting arguments within feedback, that it should be substantiated, but that step is covered in the process of selecting who you share your ideas with in the first place. I would argue that this is the only way of substantiating feedback, by the reputation of the one giving it, because that's more difficult to falsify, and having a track record commensurate with your desired outcome (eg, business feedback from a successful business person).

            Also, what is the value of a 'nugget of gold' in among a steaming pile of poor, ill-informed, unsubstantiated, opinion-driven feedback? How do you recognize that this is valuable without already knowing it? Only when the source is qualified, which according to your method, isn't so.

            I can't meet you in the middle because I don't want to be even half wrong (besides, 'middle ground' is a logical fallacy, and I'm allergic to the idea diluting truth just to be agreeable).

            The world needs great ideas, as fragile as they are in the beginning, and as subject to corruption and dilution as they might be as they develop, they need to be given a fighting chance in their earliest stages if they are to survive, and be protected from dream-thieves, the small-minded and fearful, because our survival is predicated on the survivablility of great ideas.

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