The Brain Graveyard

graveyardWhen we think of a graveyard, we associate it as a final resting place of our bodies. It is really final at that point. It is the end of the possibility for any idea that the deceased ever had to materialize. This is a harsh reality but it could be argued there is an even harsher truth – that ideas die in our brains long before the body does.

One of the many distinguishing attributes of humans is the conjuring of ideas (innovation) that did not exist before, in lieu of just survival (self preservation) ideas that we share with other species. It is really hard to quantify how many ideas come into our brains that can make our own lives better, make the lives of others better, improve a product or service, and can enhance the human experience for or not for profit. We need only to take inventory of what we have created, what came from our mind, that ‘got out’ and made something better to realize that it is a relatively short list compared to the number of ideas we have thought of. The conversion of ideas in our brain to ideas that are out there making a difference or mutating with other ideas is anemic. It can be argued that the source of our innovation is also the graveyard of them. In the world we live in today, there are less acceptable reasons for this to continue. There are people or groups of people that can be found who can help take any idea out of our brains and into life with little cost or risk. There are more simple ideas at home and work that we know can make something better, but are slowly being killed and sent to the brain graveyard by the same brain that thinks of a 100 reasons why not to free the idea and all the things that could go wrong if it came out.

As leader, you must believe that every person that reports to you has not just 1 or 2 but a ton of ideas. Why? Because that person has a powerful brain fully capable of generating ideas, from simple ones to game-changing ones. That was never the issue. The issue was getting rid of the barriers in their brains. And if you believe that, then you must consider your job to be how to remove the barriers that can allow those ideas to cross over the emotional wall that exists between the brain and the real world. Or be a silent undertaker of brain graveyards.

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