Last night I watched a new reality TV series, American Inventor, mostly because our Cool Friend Doug Hall is one of the judges. Remember he's the one who originated the idea of Dramatic Difference, which Tom has been quoting since he read Doug's Jump Start Your Business Brain. Doug knows a great deal about innovation and the viability of new ideas from his years running Eureka Ranch and at P&G.
Also, I was very curious as to what people thought would be innovative. It came as no surprise that innovation ran the gamut from very cool to seriously strange. Ideas ranged from a new way to create sandbags (thumbs up), portable gyms (thumbs up), to a "Beddie Pouch" (thumbs down), and a "tizzy tube" (thumbs down). People of all ages came up with ideas.
As I watched the show, it reminded me of business—we all have ideas that we think are right on the mark, but sometimes we haven't thought them through. These people on the show last night invested thousands of dollars, and some risked their homes to showcase their ideas. Many organizations have trouble getting people to share their ideas, and that is an opportunity for leaders. We have to expect that people will bring to the table some crazy ideas and some great ideas, but we must allow for all ideas to at least be presented.
Lessons from American Inventor:
1. Have passion!
2. Hone that sales pitch.
3. Do your research.
5. Get some sponsors/supporters whether you win or lose.