“I have an idea.” These 4 words maybe the most powerful 4 words in our language. But what makes an idea good instead of crazy? And is a crazy idea a bad idea? I think we have so many descriptors that we place before the word “idea” that we don’t even know what is what anymore! As a creative leader I am on the never ending hunt for both crazy and awesome ideas. Sometimes both are the same thing. But I think as a rule most of us are afraid of crazy ideas.
I don’t know about you but I am always afraid of the first idea. The first idea is the one that takes the most courage because it is the one that triggers the beginning of any process. Just a couple of days ago we were sitting in a brainstorming meeting trying to come up with some cool stuff for a series. We set the table around what we wanted to accomplish in the meeting, what our goals and target where, then the hush fell over the room. Who’s going to go first? Who is brave enough to stay: “What if we….” Then it happened! Someone shared an idea. I can’t remember if it was a good or bad idea but it was the starting gun of our creative meeting and it permissioned everyone else to start sharing. It was awesome. After that first idea the volume increased drastically. That’s a crazy idea.
Once we get to the end of the brainstorming session and we look around and evaluate the ideas that have been uncovered we have to identify what is going to move into action. I know for our team we love the idea that feels almost impossible. It’s scary. It forces us to face the fear of something not working. It challenges us to do things that we have never done before and be ok if the end result doesn’t meet our expectations. The idea that we all agree we are going to get behind and chase with passion is the idea we want to get behind. That’s a crazy idea.
But then sometimes the fear is to strong. We hedge a little to only chase ideas we know we can accomplish. This never allows our team to stretch, grow, or get better. The truth is, the fear is stronger than courage sometimes so instead of chasing we huddle and we convince ourselves the idea is to crazy when really we are just afraid.
With every idea we need a lens that helps us bring clarity. The question should not be “is this crazy enough” but the first question should be “Does this help us accomplish our goal”. Every creative team I talk to gets frustrated when the idea, good or bad, doesn’t help move the project forward. Creating for the sake of creating is valuable, but not in our services. The “bad crazy” ideas are the ideas that don’t lend to move the message forward. Our message never changes but our methods should be continually evolving. “Bad crazy” ideas create sideways energy and confuse people. “Good crazy” ideas make teams do things that scare them. These are the ideas that initially we may think we could never accomplish, until we crush them. They are the ideas that require equal parts faith and courage. And the truth is, these are the ideas people talk about, record, and remember.
So lets get crazy. Lets be intentional in chasing the ideas that support our message and simultaneously scare us to death!