In every organization there is an individual who is supposed to have final say about interesting tidbits like ideas that will determine the future of your company, the universe and everything (My apologies to Mr. Adams.) Often this process is broken in several ways.
- The leader keeps a bucket of sand in his office for emergency head dunking. (Although Ostriches don’t survive this way, it is popular with management.)
- The leader has an idea list that will be gotten to when the day-to-day stuff is running perfectly. (This is a unique way of never saying never while always meaning never.)
- The leader is a group of people who listen to presentations and don’t really say yes or no, stop or go. (Often this is tied to meting out budget dollars in such a way that all comers can keep moving forward ever so slowly until a project derails of it’s own weight.)
The last is my favorite. The group leader can feel good about itself because so many new ideas are percolating and failure can always be attributed to circumstances. The problem here is that great ideas are starved for resources by less great ideas. If nobody prioritizes then the organization can not reach it’s potential.
Building a creative organization and encouraging creative fires does not mean that along the way you don’t put out one or two here, add fuel to one over there and wait and see on some others. In truth the more you encourage creative fires, the more fires you will have to put out. The art is in putting out fires that don’t meet your strategic goals in a way that encourages the fires that do.
In an organization where creative fires are allowed to run amok there is never enough fuel for the truly break out great idea.