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How well does your organization generate breakthrough new ideas?


SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from over 240,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our newsletter.

How well does your organization generate breakthrough new ideas?

  • Very well: we’re chock full of ideas: 20.4%
  • Well: we have the occasional inspiration: 33.5%
  • Not well: big, new ideas are pretty rare: 35.3%
  • Not at all: we haven’t had a new idea in ages: 10.9%

We need some creativity. While more than half of you say your organizations are pretty good at coming up with new ideas, 46% of you indicate you struggle to innovate. Sometimes the best way to innovate is to challenge your existing constraints and frames of reference. Ask what’s holding you back then ask what could happen if you relaxed that constraint. Don’t try to figure out how to relax the constraint yet – just assume it’s not there and see if new ideas pop up. If the new ideas are big enough, it’s much easier to make a case for relaxing a constraint. Sometimes the only thing holding you back from that next big idea is yourself.


Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS. Before launching his own company, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He’s the author of three leadership books: “One Piece of Paper,” “Lead Inside the Box” and “The Elegant Pitch.”