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Every day, our media is full of people making mistakes, or being pilloried for being less than perfect. We are expected to be shocked, horrified, stunned – but should we be?

In an article for The Guardian, Oliver Burkeman suggests this ‘shock’ comes from a deep-rooted need for institutions to:

“Appear ultra-competent, because we derive much psychological security from the belief that somewhere, in the highest echelons of society, there are some near-infallible adults in charge.”

As business people, our rational side recognises that this is simply not true. We all know people who definitely should be in the job they are in – and a few who probably shouldn’t for one reason or another.

However, our own internal lack of self-belief might be preventing us from doubting others’ competence or assigning sufficient credibility to our achievements. In a presentation to the 2015 BrightonSEO conference entitled “How to have less rubbish ideas”, Kelvin Newman suggested one of the major stumbling blocks to getting the creative ideas we want is Imposter Syndrome.

This is a psychological state where people cannot accept their own accomplishments and deny it to themselves even in the face of evidence to the contrary. Newman quotes Mike Myers, who despite his fame and success, said that:

“At any time I still expect that the no talent police will come and arrest me.”

Even Albert Einstein confessed that:

“The exaggerated esteem in which my lifework is held makes me very ill at ease. I feel compelled to think of myself as an involuntary swindler.”

Newman sees the solution for letting the good ideas flow as depending on three main factors:

  • ¬†Understanding the context
  • Having reliable methodology
  • Creating the right environment

(At the conference, our delegate nearly leapt up and punched the air in sheer excitement at this list. These factors are at the heart of every Idea Network solution.)

Understanding the context
Asking simply for ‘ideas’ or ‘suggestions’ without placing that request in a business context is an opportunity wasted. By focusing on a particular goal or business issue, you can channel creativity without constraining it. With the Idea Network solution, you can issue challenges closely related to business goals, to keep both ideas and their implementation on track.

Reliable methodology
This is what the TalkFreely platform behind your Idea Network excels at, providing a robust and reliable framework that enables good ideas to be developed into innovative solutions, from first spark of inspiration to final implementation.

Creating the right environment
Creating a virtual environment where ideas can emerge can be a challenge. The Idea Network provides an easy to use online environment that is both inspiring yet reassuringly familiar to anyone who has used an app on their phone or tablet computer.

We would go one step further and say that an Idea Network can potentially overcome Imposter Syndrome (in its milder forms!). Your Idea Network allows realtime employee collaboration and co-creation based on interaction, recognition and feedback. An idea can be suggested, developed, evolved and shaped by many minds. The person who originated the idea will see how it inspires, stimulates and ultimately helps their colleagues, This should boost their own self-esteem and self-confidence to participate, contribute and engage with the next challenge, and the next, and the next.

To discuss how TalkFreely could boost your employees engagement and input, call us or see this short video.