She had sent the note to a small group of senior marketing leaders. Her idea was for an aggressive, leader-driven approach to advance gender equality within the company. I was highly impressed, but not surprised. Sarah is a remarkably thoughtful, intelligent and bold individual.
But beyond the idea itself, I couldn't stop thinking about the initial note that she sent from her phone. She wanted to send it to the executive group before she could start second guessing herself. The words "chicken out" implied that the idea was provocative enough to cause at least a little discomfort and fear of failure—essential ingredients for any market-moving idea today.
Every company with its eyes open recognizes the need for an innovation pipeline. Given that need, a company is in serious trouble if its marketers — the creative heart of the organization — aren't driving innovative ideas daily.
So, the question arises: What's the recipe for creating ideas bold enough to make us a little nervous and plentiful enough to fill an innovation pipeline? And after we come up with them, how do we make sure that our teams are courageous enough to share them?
The more I thought about the situation, the more I came back to one simple answer: music. Looking back at the most innovative ideas I've had throughout my own career, it occurred to me that every one of them came to me while I was listening to music. Whether combined with endorphins released during exercise, played during a car ride to work, or listened to during rare, uninterrupted work-time, if the music was pumping, then the ideas were flowing.
By Frank Crowson, Guitar Center