The Soul food of Innovation? Irritation!

The Soul food of Innovation? Irritation!Seriously!  You know when you have an idea for a new business, product, service or process and you tell someone and they pick it apart? They tell you all the reasons it won’t work.  You get really really peeved and annoyed and say to yourself, “They just don’t ‘get it’.”?  Frustrating isn’t it?

About a month ago, I was privileged to tag along with the Oberlin College Enterpreneurship Scholars on their trip to NYC visiting “Obie” alumni.  These kids were at different stages of developing or executing their businesses.  The alumni gave their own stories and then critiqued the kids’ plans.  It was interesting to see what the kids listened to and what irritated them.

It’s so easy to turn someone off when they disagree with you; “They just understand the real needs; they don’t know that market; they don’t see it on the ground like I do.”  Sound familiar?

One of the alumni told the kids to stop and think about what is really irritating them about the advice or suggestions.  Great advice!  So, when you are getting feedback (which may be criticism) on your idea, instead of turning that person off, stop and think about what it is that really bugs you about their feedback.  By analyzing what is really bugging you, you can hone your passion and purpose behind the idea.

This week, find people who are great irritants (shouldn’t be too hard for some of us!).  Share some of your ideas. While they may view your cup as half empty, they just filled it up half full for you! Give it a try and tell us how it goes!

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Deb, founder of Mills-Scofield LLC, is an innovator, entrepreneur and non-traditional strategist with 20 years experience in industries ranging from the Internet to Manufacturing with multinationals to start ups. She is also a partner at Glengary LLC, a Venture Capital Firm.

Deborah Mills-Scofield




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