Put down the sticky dots! Don’t vote on ideas!

You’re at a gathering with a group of people. You’re coming up with ideas for things that you could do. Someone is writing them all down. What happens next?

In the Old Way, the next step is to vote on the ideas everyone will work on together. Maybe even voting with sticky dots. 

In the new Idea Friendly Way, the next step is to encourage everyone to Take Small Steps to test any idea they’re excited enough to try.

One problem with voting is that none of us know which ideas will actually work. Especially when everything is changing around us so fast, our past experience isn’t as good of a guide as we think. 

We do know which ideas excite us, which we would be most enthusiastic about working on. And sometimes our enthusiasm can be enough to carry even a mediocre idea to success. 

So why do we expect everyone to give up the ideas they’re excited about and all work on the same one? 

Next time you’re in that moment of getting ready to vote, why not try this: 

  • List all the ideas
  • Go around the room and ask, Which idea are you going to work on?
  • Some people will naturally group up with others around an idea, and that’s OK. 
  • Some will go it alone, and that’s OK. Maybe they’ll recruit others who aren’t here right now to work with them.
  • Some will insist on trying an idea you are just sure will fail. Encourage them to test it with really tiny first steps. 
  • The best ideas will emerge as people try them. 

Don’t ask people to all commit to the same idea. Instead, give people a commission: take small steps. 

Keep shaping the future of your town,