Bad Ideas Are Great Fuel For Good Ideas

We have been indoctrinated in business to focus on coming up with good ideas – something that we feel confident will be accepted by our superiors and colleagues.

Approaching problems by only sharing the “good ideas” prompts us to stick to preconceived notions of what a good idea is. And, while we are focused on trying to seem like geniuses, we are actually stifling innovation.

Focus on coming up with only so-called good ideas can limit our problem-solving abilities because there’s a chance that we may fail to consider all possibilities.

So, going against the basic tenets of innovation, it’s actually time well spent to focus on ideating bad ideas!

Here’s 4 reasons why generating bad ideas is actually a brilliant idea.

1.     Unleashes creativity

It’s a common misconception that some people are creative and others aren’t. In reality, we all have the potential to be creative. Creativity is a skill that can be developed and practiced just like any other skill. Allowing yourself to voice, share and even try out some of your bad ideas is the first step to becoming more creative.

2.     Unburdens thinking

Sometimes we get stuck in our own heads. This is usually because we’ve got good ideas in our mind, but something is holding them back.  This could be often perfectionism, being judged or fear of failure. Try assigning the team the task of coming up with say 10 unworkable ideas for the problem in hand. Good ideas are banned! This will create a different sense of engagement, and free everyone up to think in the opposite way to usual. They will find it liberating. These bad ideas aren’t wasted or useless either, because..

3.     They can lead to good ideas

They can spark a change in perspective or create a connection that leads to a great idea. Keeping ourselves open to bad ideas makes it easier to think out of the box and make divergent or unconventional leaps. Other times a bad idea can be synthesised or merged with another idea to create something workable.

4.     Sometimes bad ideas are good ideas

We’ve all seen this one happen. Someone proposes an idea, everyone hates it, and then in time, the group comes back to it and realises that the idea is a stroke of genius. This often happens with divergent ideas that break conventional norms. Very often these are game changing ideas. How often are these types of ideas not voiced and therefore never considered? A lot we would guess.


Having a bad idea to arrive at a good one is incredibly useful for innovation. You can learn about our tool here so that you can practice ideating bad ideas.



If you’d like to talk about changing the way you ideate, please drop me a line –