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‘Greenhouse’ ideas

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When people talk about great ideas, they point to breakthroughs like the iPod. But the iPod wasn’t first conceived as a hand-held device that would play and download music and videos.

It started as an idea that was nurtured into a great idea. It was “greenhoused.”

Dave Lewis, who runs ?What if! The Innovation Company, says that one of the best ways to come up with creative ideas is to hold a “greenhousing” session where ideas are nurtured before they’re judged. That way, a small idea can be built upon and developed until it’s ready to be presented.

Tip: When greenhousing, avoid using the words “yes but,” which discourages or kills ideas. A better approach is “yes and,” Lewis says. It refines ideas by addition, rather than wears them down by criticism.

— Adapted from “Dave Lewis: Creating the Creativity Economy,” Knowledge@W.P. Carey.

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