Why do so many new ideas fail? Or don’t even get tried? One big reason is that people don’t take the time to evaluate properly. They love ideating, but they take idea evaluation for granted and don’t take the time to do it properly. They think they are finished and either just vote, or worse, jump into action right away. Usually these ideas fail to deliver good results or don’t even get tried, left to accumulate on the “back burner” (also known as “idea purgatory”).
In the February 2012 Academy of Management publication “Perspectives”, Jackson Nickerson and his associates suggest that that management’s problem finding and problem solving ability is vital for organizational performance and provides a platform for scientific organizational design. Our own research and experience agree completely. See for example :
Albert Vollmer, the chair of Work and Organizational Psychology at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, is leading an applied research project called “Constructive Controversy for Innovation”. The goal is to introduce the concept of Constructive Controversy for resolving conflicts in team innovation decision making. The core of the concept is the intellectual, or task conflict which arises when different people have to combine their different knowledge into a joint decision. Dr Vollmer suggests that the reality is that organizational people don’t employ methods for integrating different perspectives but act ad-hoc or intuitively and hope to avoid or mimimize conflicts. They either have no understanding of innovation as a process, or think of it as a linear model, or don’t recognize that in every phase of an innovation process there are opposing forces of differentiation and integration which must be managed.