Interview with Ankur Dasgupta, Vice President of India APJ Marketing at NTT DATA.
One of the most common mistakes people make in the creative process is to judge the merit of an idea purely based on the first mention of the idea. Often, they have made up their mind about the idea just seconds after hearing about it. They either love it, hate it or are indifferent to it, but they forget, or jump past, the important phase of “Idea Deliberation.”
An idea is just the tip of a metaphorical creative iceberg. The true essence of an idea is much more than just the idea. Until you deliberate on the idea, that is, “to think or talk seriously and carefully about it”, you cannot understand the thought process behind it, the potential it carries, and the future it holds.
Idea deliberation is the art of asking “why?” when you hear an idea. Creative people know that you do not fully understand an idea until you have heard the thought process that led to it. You must develop a curiosity to learn more about it. The ‘why’ often leads you to what the idea wants to accomplish and tells you if that is in your or your organization’s goal sets.
A mathematics teacher will mostly ask students to explain how they came up with the answer so that he or she can determine whether they understood the given problem enough. Similarly, to appreciate an idea or its potential, one must explore it at a deeper level to understand its foundation as well as its promise.
Next time a person presents an idea to you, fight the urge to decide what you think about it, and instead withhold your judgment and engage in deliberating upon it to try and fully understand the reasons why the person with the idea believes in it, how they came to the conclusion that the idea should be implemented and why they think it’s a great idea.
Make it a habit to deliberate on an idea before deciding what to think about it. You, the idea, and the person presenting that idea to you deserve it!
This text was inspired by a conversation with Mr. Ankur Dasgupta, Vice President of India APJ Marketing at NTT DATA. He is based in Bangalore.
Mr. Dasgupta told me about how (About 15 years ago) in a brainstorming session at the company he works for, a person presented an idea that they should create extra-curricular activities for the employees, such as encouraging hobbies, trainings, up-skilling opportunities, and even competitive events like Hackathons. He asked, “why?”, and the person shared his thoughts about how the company would benefit from high employee retention, how more employees can be encouraged to stay on with the company by increasing the engagement level in the company and how it is connected to a sense of self-appreciation, and how employees can mitigate risks of becoming redundant by keeping ahead of changes in the tech landscape. Just as extra-curricular activities in schools play a huge part in shaping who a child becomes in school, similarly an adult will develop not just based on their tasks but also what he or she does outside of work. A company that understands that and helps develop, facilitate or empower those aspects of an employee’s life will have a better chance of keeping them with the company. Therefore, these engagements were a great idea.
The idea deliberation exercise during the brainstorming session brought forward more reasons why the idea was good and what challenges could emerge if the organization decides to implement it.
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