The Best Idea That Didn't Work

July 08 2018
By: Terry L. Mathis

My 12-year-old grandson looks at the world through a different set of eyes. He constantly asks why things are not a certain, better way or why someone doesn't make something to fix this problem or improve that condition. In short, he is an opportunistic observer and creative thinker. I sometimes tell him someone beat him to the idea, but I still think he will win big on Shark Tank one day.

Corporate leaders frequently tell me they want their people to be more creative. Yet, they do not reward or recognize creativity unless it turns into a great victory. What message does this send to the workers?The Best Idea That Didn't Work "Make sure it is going to work before you suggest it!" This actually stifles creativity and strengthens the fear of failure. A mentor of mine, who advised many corporate leaders, convinced a major company to offer a reward at their annual convention for "The Best Idea that Didn't Work." It was a huge success at encouraging creative thinking. If you want homeruns, you are going to have to encourage huge swings that can lead to strikeouts.

Terry L. Mathis

Terry Mathis, Founder and retired CEO of ProAct Safety, has served as a consultant and advisor for top organizations the world over. A respected strategist and thought leader, Terry has authored five books, numerous articles, videos and blogs, and is known for his dynamic and engaging presentations. EHS Today has named him one of the '50 People Who Most Influenced EHS' four consecutive times. Business leaders and safety professionals seek Terry's practical insight and unique ability to introduce new perspectives that lead to real change.