Baby Fight Club

This is just a quick behind-the-scenes look at an element of innovation methodology, or why I put a half-formed (honestly more like 12% formed) idea about education out in public.

Innovation happens, by definition, under conditions of extreme uncertainty. (Actually, this goes for all creative pursuits.) The thing you are imagining or making has never existed before, so you don’t know anything – will it work? Is it the right thing? Will it remain as you imagine it?

The answer to that last question is almost always “no.”

At some point you are going to have to put your idea out in front of other people, and they will criticize them. You want useful criticism, but it can hurt.

The more time you spend working on your idea and polishing it, the more you come to love it. We call this the Time/Love Quandary. The more you love it, the more it hurts when people say that it’s not perfect. The more time you spend on it, the more you fall in love with it, the harder it is to change. So get your idea in front of people early and often. That saves you from spending real and psychic currency on something that isn’t going to work or that nobody wants.

A friend of mine dubbed this “taking your baby to Fight Club.” Not all of your ideas are worthy. Most of them are not worth spending time on. You want to figure that out as fast as possible…does this baby idea have what it takes to go the distance? The only way to do that is to expose it to critique.

Ideally, you want to do that in a way that maximizes what you learn from the experience, but doesn’t cost you very much in money, time, effort, or emotions.

Knowing when to take which baby to Fight Club, and which Fight Club to take it to, are where the art and craft of innovation come it.

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