Roger von Oech

Creative Think

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Mark McGuinness

I love the line 'Every right idea is eventually the wrong idea'. It reminds me of e.e. cummings' poem where he says:

and even if it's Sunday may I be wrong,
for wherever men are right they are not young


Working at a Web2.0 company, I have to say that I think this idea can be over applied. It can feel like we are often changing just for the sake of changing, or changing because that is what someone else did and we need to stay current.

But I think it is important to recognize the reasons we made a decision in the first place and judge whether they still apply to the situation. It is true that you don't want to get stuck with an idea or product because you refuse to reevaluate it, but the other extreme can be just as detrimental.

If things don't seem to be going well, many have tendency to immediately change course. I think it makes more sense to take a look at why things are not working to see what extra information you now have about a situation and what you can do with that. Or whether you simply don't have enough information to make a good choice yet and need to spend some time gathering that before chucking the old idea out.

I too like 'Every right idea is eventually the wrong idea' but, I think it is important to keep in mind that 'eventually' does not always mean the next day.



I think this vision can be extended to : "escape from obsolete paths or schemes". It is often quite comfortable to keep the same routines rolling. Just like escaping from obsolete ideas, I think it is good to reevaluate our processes.

Changing the way we work (or "see" our work) quite often leads to innovation opportunities.

David Armano


One of my favorites quotes is:

"Once the first shot is fired in War, the plan goes out the window"

It's an exaggeration of course, but similar to your post it stresses the importance of adaptation.

A sound strategy is always good to have, but life doesn't always work out as planned. We all have to adapt or risk becoming obsolete.


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I love the line 'Every right idea is eventually the wrong idea'.

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