Learn to be more supportive 22:00 on Sunday

I want to learn to be more supportive of others and quit squashing down their ideas. When I’m told a new idea, I should not judge, but explore the opportunities in the idea, even if the idea might sound implausible at first.

Judging ideas is an effective and useful phase of finding and polishing diamonds out of rough ideas, I’ve got that right. It’s just that judging should not be the first phase of evaluating a new idea.

Here’s an example from last week: we were discussing a potential project involving an embedded computer, and whether we should write the software for the computer in C, or go the route of installing a full web server suite and writing the software in Java. Mikko was excited about the idea of an extremely simple Linux system with one small C program handling everything we needed. We have never written anything in C for clients, but we have both had our share of building web services. So, I thought, web services would be a natural and safe bet. I called the C program an implausible geek dream and defended the web services malevolently. Luckily Mikko did not give in so easily, and now I’m thinking the C program is the best idea ever, too. Unfortunately it took one hour of heated debate and a night’s sleep before I could embrace Mikko’s idea.

There are tools to help you wrap your mind around new ideas. Some I’ve found include the Creative Whack Pack and the idea of greenhousing.

The Whack Pack includes four types of cards with creative strategies, of which I should definitely remember to play the Explorer card more often instead of the Judge card. While the Judge cards are good for evaluating ideas, the Explorer cards help in exploring new ideas.

Greenhousing comes from the book Sticky Wisdom by the innovation company What If? The point of greenhousing is to nurture all new ideas at first, and only put them to the test when they’ve been allowed to grow for awhile. The best short explanation of greenhousing can be found in Alexander Kjerulf’s blog.

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