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Taking New Ideas Up the Ladder

The FORUM in Chicago asked that I participate in a panel addressing young professionals as they work to forward their career in today’s economy. One of the most interesting discussions of the evening was how to take new ideas up the ladder. Some of the young professionals felt that their ideas were squashed before they were considered. In a business, such as mine, where ideas are paramount, I found this amazing. Is it that as we get seasoned in business, we lose track of the opportunity to change course? Is it that these ideas have already been tried and the young professionals do not understand the pitfalls that have already been encountered? Or are we just uninterested in changing processes because turning a cruise ship is too much work? Whatever the obstacle, it was interesting to hear the “seasoned” professionals discuss ways for the professionals to get heard. Some of the interesting comments:

  1. Make sure your idea is not delivered in the hallway – write a plan and present the idea in a viable way.

  2. Look for ways to make the idea make sense – not just for process but for profitability.

  3. Think through the process of executing your idea. If you don’t there may be pitfalls that you did not foresee and your suggestion will look ill conceived.

Perhaps the most important point was the consensus that giving up on idea generation is not an option – no matter where you are in your career. Perhaps just as many ideas from your boss are turned down from their CEO and board – and we all just need to deal with rejection. Whether you work at an ad agency or a corporation, idea generation thinkers will always be valued and if they are not, perhaps a change is order.


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