We urgently need to plug the brain drains. How many potentially great ideas are never shared and are lost to the world?
Even the largest thing in human endeavour begins with the smallest spark of an idea in a single mind. But not every small idea grows up. Most of our thoughts remain just that – thoughts. Very few of our ideas are ever shared and only a very small percentage of our shared thoughts are ever translated into persistent value.
But nothing great will grow unless we share our thoughts effectively; joined-up thinking needs well-connected minds.
Euan Semple recently blogged Thinking big about “small pieces“ and asked a great question: How do you bring about significant change using conversations, influence and sticky ideas rather than command and control and grand plans?
Euan’s piece described a conundrum of striking a balance between “top-down” thinking, i.e. starting with a BIG goal and breaking it down to smaller, achievable steps; versus “bottom-up” thinking, i.e. aggregating a larger ambition from the collaboration of contributors, each sharing their “smaller” ideas.
Of course, in the world of organisations, Euan’s conundrum should not be an either/or situation – the organisation should be the framework that facilitates the effective amalgam of top-down and bottom-up thinking.
But in practice just how often is the right balance struck?
How many of us spend our time dealing with the consequences of a costly [and destructive] imbalance between top-down vision and bottom-up practicality?
In a world increasingly desperate for new ideas, we should start by plugging the brain drains that allow masses of potentially great ideas to be flushed away – simply because we haven’t created effective frameworks for sharing and developing ideas.
I think we need a massive improvement in the quality of organisational thinking. Do you agree and how would you go about achieving improvements?