Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Overcoming idea resistance: Judo technique

Say you have an idea: it may be a new tool or a new feature you thought of or a new product altogether. And you want to really give your best shot at getting it accepted. What do you do? Well, you may say, I will start with building a prototype or Proof of Concept (PoC). So you spend anywhere from a couple of days to a month working extra in developing this PoC. What next? You may say, I will show it to my manager or product manager or someone else in my business unit I have a good rapport with. This approach-1 looks like this:

Is there anything wrong with approach-1? Nothing wrong, except that the idea may not have enough weight of its own yet. And chances are high it may not get appropriate priority in the list of things the business leaders want to focus on today. You may say, well, is there any other approach? And this where John Seely Brown, ex-Director of Xerox PARC shows us a different approach he calls “Operational Judo”.

This is how John describes his approach in article How does your knowledge flow? First, we got customers turned on to the idea by showing it secretly to them. That helped us make improvements by learning from customers. Once we got customers behind the idea, we unleashed them on the other parts of the company. We did that because we knew an idea from a customer would have greater credibility than one that came directly from us.

John’s Judo Approach looks like this:

It is easy to see which approach has higher chances of overcoming the resistance to your idea.

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