Is there such thing as a bad idea?

On my last visit to The Arcadia Preparatory School, a pupil in year 3 asked me if there was such a thing as a bad idea. In my eyes, there is categorically no such thing as a bad idea. It might need reworking. It might be disliked a little in its first instance. It might be so extreme that it seems impossible. But what is for sure is that there is no such thing as a bad idea. Every idea – good or slightly unusual – is important in the journey of producing really great ideas. Without the ‘deemed’ to be ‘bad’ ideas, which we like to describe as unusual, uncommon, unexpected, unnatural, unorthodox, unfamiliar, unique, the debate is not sparked, new ideas are not suggested and good, practical, real ideas are not created.

Too many people believe that they come up with bad ideas and that they are not idea generators. Why? We live in a world, where it’s very typical for other people to point out the flaws in an idea. Sometimes this might be friends, family or even colleagues. This isn’t the situation in every environment, but there are countless people who will be able to relate to this. Our attitude to ‘unfamiliar’ ideas needs to be more adopting. We must embrace them. We must let these ideas be heard. Why? Without the ‘unusual’ ideas being heard, ‘real’ ideas will continue to be lost.

We believe at Arcadia, that we have to embrace innovation at all levels and in all environments, starting in our homes, schools and offices. People are not born innovative, they become innovative. At home, let your children experiment at meal times. Challenge them to help decide what ingredients should be used to make a tasty meal on a cheaper budget. At school, we let every child be heard. We let discussions flow and then illustrate to our pupils that their first idea, led to the creation of a collaborative improved idea. At work, encourage your teams to have regular think-tank sessions. Let your office colleagues finish their ideas rather than the temptation to jump in and correct them.

It’s time we stamp out this idea that there are bad ideas. We must embrace the ‘unusual’ ideas, debate them and produce something much greater. So the next time you listen to someone come up with an idea, which you believe is a ‘bad’ idea, stop, think, remember this blog and join in collaboratively with that person to develop the idea into something much more than it was when it started. There is no such thing as a bad idea. It might just need a little extra work.

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