If you want your idea to spark engagement and grow, Harvard Business Review recommends leaving something out. This gives others the chance to develop unique interpretations and add to the idea.
Photo by Maryland GovPics
Artists and musicians do this often — crafting something that can be interpreted different ways, discussed and debated. It can also work with just about any other idea as well. Harvard Business Review calls it white space, and explains how it works:
As any visual artist will tell you, the white space is just as important as the drawing. In music, too, the pauses matter just as much as the sound. And yet in business, we rush to fill any empty space with noise — a new offer, more features, another conference call.
But when we respect the white space — or when we intentionally create by removing just the right thing in just the right way — we allow others to fill the void, adding their own interpretation and impact. In fact, I'd argue that some of the most engaging ideas have something purposefully missing. Limiting information engages the imagination.
Apple uses this strategy well. In 2007, Steve Jobs presented the first iPhone one time, instead of sending it through a media frenzy. Then the iPhone wasn't released until five months later. It was still praised as one of the most advanced pieces of technology in history at the time.
So next time you have an awesome idea you would like to share with others — at work, among friends, it really doesn't matter — leave room for your audience to fill in the blanks with their own interpretations and influence. This gives you the opportunity to get your idea out, and feel fulfilled that other people were happy to get involved and take part in it.
The Most Engaging Ideas Leave Something Out [Harvard Business Review]