Dealing with Idea Flashes

Idea-lovers just can’t get enough it.

It’s totally addictive and hard to resist.

Yes, I’m talking about new ideas (a.k.a. “flashes of genius” // at least, that’s what it feels like at the moment). For people enthralled by ideas, the flickering appearance of more ideas is far too often irresistible. What could be so wrong with adding new ideas to a project? We need more, don’t we?

Well, yes and no.

It’s true that new ideas can greatly benefit an endeavor. In fact, new ideas, especially those that strategically refine or add value to a project, are necessary. Unfortunately, many of these idea flashes can also be very distracting, energy-draining, and even derail a project from its original goal. Most idea flashes feel great because it injects adrenaline into the minds and hearts of those experiencing it (at the moment).

The bad news…

Like any other high, there’s usually a let down. So, what do addicts do after a let down? Yes, they go back for more.

For idea-lovers, this means more meetings and more ideas. Eventually, team members will feel that their meetings are unproductive and useless. A continuation along the path toward idea flashes will end up in discouragement, tension, and disconnectedness by the team. You can only cry wolf so much with a new idea.


Stay focused on the task at hand and only engage ideas that refine and move the organization forward. When you get enlightened by a new idea flash, record it and revisit it later. If it’s good, it’ll stick around. Sometimes great ideas die prematurely because of bad timing or context. Let it brew a little before making it your life partner. I promise that you’re team will thank you for it.

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Charles is the CEO & Chief Idea-Maker at Ideation, a brand innovation company that specializes in helping businesses & organizations build remarkable brands via innovative business design, organizational change architecture, brand integration, design, web, and marketing services. He is also the author of Good Idea. Now What?: How to Move Ideas to Execution, a practical book designed to help people move ideas to implementation. Charles is regularly invited to speak to leading companies and organizations on topics such as creativity, innovation, idea-making, and branding. Executive leaders from brands including Wells Fargo, Toyota, The White House, Catalyst, William Morris Endeavor, mun2, Council of Urban Professionals, Chick-fil-A, and many others have benefited from having Charles present at their key events.