The ideas most likely to fail are the ideas you’re too afraid to try.
by Ryan Drumwright
A pottery teacher divided his class into two teams. Team one was told they would be graded solely on the quantity of pots produced. The more pots they produced, the better grade they would get. Team two was told they would be graded purely on the quality of one pot. They only had to make one pot, but it had to be EXCELLENT in order to get the A.
Fast forward…Who do you think made the best pots?
If you said the “Quantity” team, then you are right. As the team produced more and more pots, they learned via trial and error and produced awesome pots.
The quality team, on the other hand, struggled to produce a halfway decent pot. They worried so much about producing the “perfect” pot, they let fear take over and bar them from success.
So, what can we as ad folks learn from this? Don’t let fear get into the way of producing great ideas. Why do most great ad ideas fail? Is it because they are secretly bad? Are they destined to fail? Are they too good to be successful? No. No. And No. They fail because of fear. Either fear from the agency’s side, fear from the client’s side or fear from both!
Ad Men: If you feel like you have a good idea, champion that idea and don’t let it get shot down. Do not let the concept of perfection clog up your mind and stunt your creative thinking. Be open to any and all ideas. There is no such thing as a bad idea in a brainstorming activity. Come up with as many ideas as possible, then start to play around with them and figure out an idea that would best suit your strategy. Keep all the discarded ideas. You never know when they will come in handy.
Clients: Don’t let fear get in the way of your success. Sometimes we have to take a leap of faith and follow a new way of thinking. Maybe we need to differentiate ourselves in the marketplace. Maybe it is time to present something more relevant to our target audience. Maybe our old idea never really made a connection with our target audience. Whatever the reason, do not be afraid to adopt a new idea. That said, new isn’t always better. Be smart. Check the strategy. Look at the research. Be willing to take a leap of faith in order to reap the benefits of success.
For more on how to persuade people to embrace your ideas, read Michael Iva’s manifesto
Michael Iva is an internationally renowned designer, writer, new product launch consultant, marketing expert and friend of mine. He has helped to successfully launch 127 new products and services into countless different industry groups.
The pottery story is adapted from by David Bayles and Ted Orland.