Avoiding the "Empty Mortar Effect"

“Empty Mortar Effect”
Avoid having your innovation ignored or being a distraction

After watching the local news a couple days ago, I heard yet another story of a “bomb” or explosive device found. Whenever this happens, it creates a huge distraction. Police, firefighters, ambulance, EMT’s, bomb squad, investigators, media, community, etc. involvement. It’s all this hype, distraction, and huge waste of money when you have such a scare, and we’re fortunate when it’s ‘empty’ or non explosive. We see all the energy it takes to address the concern of a potential threat, then it usually ends up being some World War II weapon/device that someone threw out from a yard sale or got tossed by accident (or in some cases on purpose) that creates this huge investment of time, effort, energy, and people.

I thought of this, and it made me think of a meeting I had been a part of. I had presented all these ideas where some where BIG, some a far reach to be relevant yet I personally had passion to integrate them, and others made sense. As I was thinking of this meeting, and watching all the hoopla around this mortar dud, I thought, “Wow, I was an ‘empty mortar’ during that meeting with a lot of ideas!”. You could also call this the "Barking Dog" principal as well! I followed up to my meeting with the leaders involved to refine & polish the objective, as well as relate the agenda/ideas around it to the mission better. I did not want to continue being an ‘empty mortar’ and have this effect of being a distraction and not adding value. I wanted to provide a ‘punch’, be of service with creativity, but with a refined presentation.

I had great ideas, but was wondering why my incredible (at least I thought so, ha) innovations weren’t being acted upon immediately. Was it me, my timing, the idea…?! They made sense, they were fitting & conducive to our efforts, they were low cost, high return, and with a few team members could be led & implemented into our systems ASAP! I realized it wasn’t my idea as much as it was properly approaching people in the right way to share your thoughts & how it would be helpful to your goals. Sharing solutions vs. problems. I realized that when informing the right people via one on one meetings, then if appropriate, having a group ‘meeting of the minds’ to brainstorm around your innovation also helps. Just having an idea is one thing, but sharing it the right way with the right people, aligning it with your goals, and communicating it properly truly helps implementation.

We've all had great ideas & thought of ways to make something better, but at one time or another either didn't take action on it, or the idea was shot down. Avoid being shot down, and avoid the 'Empty Mortar Effect'! Empower yourself to be a driving 'force of nature' to be reckoned with & passionate representation of your idea. Own it & lead with focus! Frame/structure it so people understand in a brief presentation. Share the top three benefits & how this can be led efficiently with current resources. Don’t be a 'barking dog' and blurt out an idea or touch upon it lightly. Avoid being an ‘empty mortar’ and having a platform & resources to share an idea, but allowing it to dissipate because of distractions & not approaching & aligning it properly. Passionately share your exciting & innovative idea & it's impact the right way, and you will not be a distraction, but a show your abilities & be that ‘rock star’ you are!

Top 10 Ways to Have Your Innovation Implemented
1. It is of positive impact (and generates connectivity & sustainability)
2. Utilizes & leverages current resources (be cost aware, integrate + collaborate where you can!)
3. Avoids duplication (has a good model/framework?)
4. You present it to the right people the right way
5. Have a focused presentation you can share with a group (don’t over think it, make it simple & understandable)
6. Walk people through how it works, what it can do, and next steps
7. Have passion about it (believe in it, own it, and have a positive attitude & tone)
8. Communicate it with clarity & consistency constantly
9. Show the ‘substance & style’ of your idea (creative portrait)
10. Be realistic & patient (does it make sense, fit, work, need too much investment/resources…?)

Happy Innovating!
Brian Siegel

Copyright © 2009 by Brian Siegel, heartprints inc. & siegel | innovations. All Rights Reserved.


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