Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,

Enwrought with golden and silver light,

The blue and the dim and the half light,

I would spread the cloths under your feet:

But I, being poor, have only my dreams;

I have spread my dreams under your feet;

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

W.B. Yeats

Ultimately, we’re in the business of creating ideas. It can get very chaotic, unpredictable, extremely random. You can be the most disciplined person in the world, run rigorous processes; still: Idea development is never linear.

Our real challenge is not to have the idea but to recognize one little light amidst a sea of darkness. To take this little, precious thing and guard it from flaming out. To identify the potential, to see the implicit greatness, the possibilities to become something great and game-changing.

That makes our jobs as instigators, creators and innovators increasingly tough. We can’t just focus on the average, we need to fully aware of the edges because that’s where the best ideas come from. They come from thinking the unthinkable. From asking “Why don’t we?”, “How about?”, and proclaiming “Let’s do it.”

All of us are idea killers

It’s just so easy. Everybody can criticize ideas. Why? Because we can showcase our intelligence, our insights, our brilliant mind by pointing out the obvious inadequacies. It’s easy to crush fragile ideas and feel superior. While we congratulate ourselves for this act of forceful destruction, a small, weak idea that could have changed the world dies forgotten.

It’s easy and the least constructive. If you want to be regarded as a valuable addition to the universe (and your company) you should throw away your executioner uniform. And start carrying small little, velvet boxes. Coax, caress and nurture weak ideas. Help them to grow up and let them free when they are ready to become glorious visions. If that’s too much for you, at least don’t crush fragile ideas. We don’t always have to hear from you.

Sometimes it’s better to just listen and keep your opinion to yourself.