9: Killing good ideas is a good idea

So that brilliant idea of yours isn't the only version of it under the sun, but that's okay (Priniciple 8) you're pouring everything you have in to making it real because you believe it is the one and true answer to the problem at hand.

A this point, killing that good idea could very well be a good idea.

It's easy to fall in love with an idea.  And when we're not mindful of process, and spend our energy worrying about whether we'll be successful and on budget and on time (not that those are bad things, they're very important), we can also fall in love too early with an idea, simply out of fear.  The mental or organizational dialog goes something like this: "This one is good, and we're in a rush, so let's go do it.".  Early closure is the enemy of innovation.  Better to move fast through lots of ideas early, throwing most of them out in the process, than to hone down to one in the very early days, polishing it to perfection in the vague hope that it is The One. 

Killing ideas also reserves energy so that there's enough left over to actually bring the very best ones to market.  In work, as in life, you can't do everything, so deciding what you won't do becomes as important as deciding what you will do (while always maintaining a bias toward the doing).  In a discussion about why Apple never shipped a post-Newton PDA, Steve Jobs said "If we had gotten into it, we wouldn't have had the resources to do the iPod.  We probably wouldn't have seen it coming."  At the end of the day, you never want to be low, slow, and out of money or time.

So go look at  your portfolio of ideas, and then kill a few that aren't going to be remarkable in the way they go about making people happy and creating value in the world.  You'll be much more innovative as a result.

This is the ninth of 21 principles.  Please give me your feedback and ideas.