Healthy Leaders


27 Characteristics of a Good Idea

Malcolm WebberMalcolm Webber

Recently I read an article by Daniel Tillett: Ideas are not cheap. Daniel is a researcher and the article is about tech start-ups. But he makes some great points that are directly applicable to Christian leadership, ministry and leader development work:

It is a cliché in the tech industry that startup ideas are cheap and all that matters is execution. The thinking is that it doesn’t really matter what you do, it just matters that you work really hard and pivot until you get product-market fit.

The truth is the vast majority of ideas are worse than worthless because they are simply bad ideas. Bad ideas will sometimes work because of luck or effort, but good ideas are much, much more likely to succeed. Life is too short to work on bad ideas.

I love that last sentence: “Life is too short to work on bad ideas.” In any case, we’re serving God, the Creator of the universe; He will never run out of perfect ideas!

So, how then can we tell which ideas are “good” ones? Daniel helpfully provides a list of potential characteristics of a genuinely good idea. I’ve added some categories, changed his list a little and added a few of my own to customize this list for Christian leaders – this includes removing or adjusting various references to the competitive environment of the business world (you can see all his points at the original article).

Good ideas will have as many of the following 27 characteristics as possible:

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Examine yourself and your strategies now according to the above list. Keep in mind, as Daniel writes, “the list is a checklist, not a must-have list. If you have an idea that hits seven or eight on the list, it is a fantastic idea; even just hitting three or four, it is still better than the average idea.”

Remember: Life is too short to work on bad ideas!

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