[L/M NET] Tom Fishburne > “Evolution of An Idea”

(L/M NET: the blogged experience & expertise of some of the best minds in Innovation, Brand Engagement, Communication Agility:


There is a natural selection to ideas. Ideas can be strengthened or weakened, launched or killed outright. Any organization is a Galapagos of ideas in various stages of evolution.

The Survival of the Fittest law applies too, yet what is deemed “fittest” is in the eye of the organization. Very often, “fittest” means “safest”. Those ideas are smaller than the ideas that are originally conceived.

The best ideas are the product of many touches. In an organization, the lone genius is a myth. Instead, there is a synergistic effect where ideas are expanded or tightened, made bigger or made sharper. We all create and we all critique.

The job for someone championing an idea is not to complain when the climate is inhospitable, but instead to keep advancing the evolution of the idea.

The best approach I’ve seen is to get the ideas out of the organization and into the open, as in small stakes in-market tests. As WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg said, “usage is like oxygen for ideas”. The market and the consumer are better judges of “fittest” than we are.

Here’s another cartoon I drew five years ago on the Survival of the Safest.


(ralf says:
We have to differentiate between real users who search for value and critiques and pundits who try to impress others by giving early insights, judgements, and opinions.
Be careful who you are listening to. As within the company people outside the company also do have their hidden agendas, which will –
out of pure egoisms – not support your ideas and innovation.)

Tom is cartoonist and founder of Marketoonist, helping organizations communicate with cartoons. He draws from 16yrs of marketing, most recently as Marketing VP at method. He speaks about innovation, creativity, and marketing, using cartoons to visualize. @tomfishburne