Best Practices >>> Innovation Management >>> Idea Management




Let Go Of Your Ideas


Nolan Bushnell, Founder of uWink

It's essential to build a culture where there's no such thing as a bad idea.

At uWink, for example, we have regular "compost" sessions to come up with new game ideas. We don't debate their value. Our priority is simply to get as many ideas as possible out of individuals' heads and into the group's heads. The ideas then become collective problems or puzzles that percolate throughout the group. And a couple of months later, someone − very often not the person who came up with a particular idea − has a breakthrough insight that allows us to move forward. In software, especially, the best ideas lose their owners and take on lives of their own.

We have very fast product life cycles, so I believe in a tough love approach to new product development. Give people too much time, and a project can become a breeding ground for internal politics. Likewise, too much money can become a crutch for creative thinking. Firm deadlines and tight budgets keep people focused on creating valuable products and getting them to market as soon as possible. There is no substitute for getting something on the shelves and hearing what customers have to say. The true test of any innovation is how the marketplace responds.