Don’t Pursue a Doomed Idea

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When it comes to innovation, irrationality can be a blessing. Many a great decision has resulted from people taking risks that didn’t make logical sense at the time. But irrationality can also blind innovators to real problems. Here are three ways to seek the right amount of reason:

  • Find a devil’s advocate. Look for someone who can poke holes in your thinking and point out when you’re being dangerously irrational.
  • Test your hypotheses. Turn your proclamations into experiments. Use them to check your logic.
  • Make resources scarce. An abundance of time, money, or people should accelerate innovation, but it often does the opposite. Set early deadlines, consciously constrain funding, and keep teams lean to pressure-test your idea before you get too far down the road.

Adapted from “In Praise of Irrational Innovators” by Scott Anthony.