Defer Judgment

It’s impossible to be curious and judgmental at the same time. Trying to generate and evaluate ideas at once is like trying to drive with one foot on the gas and the other on the brakes: you won’t get anywhere, and you might blow a gasket.

Ideas are not actions. There’s no risk in deferring your evaluation. And there are three good reasons to do so: One, an idea that looks crazy at first might turn out to be a winner. Two, a crazy idea might lead to a better one (or two, or six, or ten better ones). And three, the more ideas on the table, the more likely you’ll find a good one. So set a quota for the number of ideas to generate before beginning to judge.

“The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a C, the idea must be feasible.” – Yale University management professor, in response to Fred Smith’s paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service. Smith went on to found FedEx.

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