What’s a Good Idea Worth?

What’s a good idea worth? While we certainly can look to the great variety of paradigm-shifting innovations of our technological age and point to the profitability of the companies that sprung up around various ideas, or that served as their laboratory and incubator, this is not a sufficient answer, nor is it a truly fulfilling manner of trying to answer the question “what’s a good idea worth.” Why? Because under that rubric we need to define and measure profit in order to establish value. But many of the things that keep us showing up for work everyday slip under this profit/value equation, into the land of our subjective experience of how we feel when we give the best of ourselves, including our good ideas, to our efforts. This is value on the scale of the human heart and psyche, and it’s powered at least as much — if not more — by curiosity, playfulness, openness, and courage as it is by the desire to realize profitability.

If we’re to truly ask the question “what’s a good idea worth?” then we stretch beyond the idea of ROI, and into the intrinsic motivators that keep us engaging in our work lives with energy and passion.

Here are some thoughts on ways to measure the worth of a good idea:

  • Team bonding: did the good idea arise in collaboration? Then likely it leads to shared enthusiasm and also greater trust within teams.
  • Self-confidence and self-efficacy: did the good idea solve a vexing problem ? Chances are you now feel greater confidence in your abilities, and are likely to take on even greater challenges.
  • Optimism: a good idea brings with it a burst of possibility that carries strong positive feelings. As proponents of Positive Psychology tell us, this imparts numerous benefits, from feeling more connected to our families and coworkers to better physical health.
  • Leadership capacity: we want to be champions of our good ideas. When this happens, we naturally step into leadership behaviors, such as communicating our vision, leveraging our influence, and working to inspire others.

So, what’s it worth to businesses to have bonded, trusting teams, optimistic employees who demonstrate self-confidence and self-efficacy, and emerging leadership coming from the ranks of creative thinkers? A lot! These behaviors contribute enormously to a culture where good ideas proliferate and multiply — increasing the likelihood of profit generation and cost savings that businesses depend upon. What’s a good idea worth? If understood properly, probably more than we know!

Image Credit: Flickr via BusinessInsider

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