Odds are your next idea will fail.

Why?

It’s not for a lack of trying –on average we drop 30 thousand new ideas on the world, every year. It’s not that people don’t want your ideas – they do. According to Salesforce, 63% of the consumer and business buyers surveyed expect new products/services more frequently than ever before. And the probability of a 45 to 95% failure rate doesn’t help your odds either.

Essentially, the root cause for idea fail is – our good ideas are not good enough.

Why?

Explanations obviously vary but the most frequent reasons given why good ideas are not good enough range from poor understanding of customer needs and preferences, innovation without a defined market opportunity, poor market research and product performance that falls short of claims. It’s no wonder Boston Consulting Group found in their study on Obstacles to ROI on Innovation that one of the top six reasons was “not enough good ideas”.

In short, we don’t “get” our audience. But if you did, imagine how much better, more innovative and more successful your idea would be. If only you had a little more insight into them.

So, what’s the word that will make your good ideas even better?

Dimmi.

Dimmi, Tuscan for “Tell me” was the approach used by the most prolific and creative genius in history.

Leonardo da Vinci’s accomplishments are legendary. But I was more curious about how the most curious man in the world developed his great ideas.

Da Vinci used the Dimmi method to develop a deep understanding of the world as a first step. He “spoke” to trees, birds and water using his powers of observation. From his insights came a map of the circulatory system of the human body, the automated loom and river lock systems, to name just a few ideas.

It was obviously a one-way conversation with the world so, imagine if you asked Dimmi of a human being. What if you said “Tell me…” to a customer or colleague and had a real conversation? You could use your powers of observation as well as a few other human strengths of yours to make your good ideas better.

Dimmi will work for you because it is a collaborative, open-minded approach that challenges the way things are and allows for conversation, creativity and collaboration.

Here’s how:

Dimmi Stimulates Your Curiosity

Dimmi encourages better questions. As children we ask about 200 questions per day according to several studies. You peaked on asking questions at about the age of four by the way. As adults we ask fewer than 10 per day so odds are we’re not getting good data from our few questions. This might explain why we don’t have enough “good ideas” or don’t understand customer needs and preferences.

“Tell me” solves this problem for you by sharpening your curiosity through exploratory conversation with your audience. When you ask your customer or colleague “Tell me…..

why this is a challenge for you?” or why this is important” or

about what you do when…” or what excites you about….”

You are engaging them. You are seeking to understand what is important and valuable to them. And it leads to more questions like “Tell me more about….” and soon you’re having a real conversation about needs, ambitions and aspirations. Address this in your idea and it will be significantly better.

Dimmi Changes Your Perspective

I think da Vinci knew then what Daniel Kahneman (Thinking, Fast and Slow) and the cognitive scientists know today as System One thinking – essentially that our minds are hardwired to think fast. Dimmi helps you slow down – not too much – just enough so that you don’t jump to conclusions or leap to answers and ideas too quickly – before talking about the problem from a different perspective – theirs

Dimmi changes the perspective from your problem of not enough good ideas, revenue growth and the myriad of other problems you deal with to your customer or colleague’s situation; their challenges, their needs. When you ask “Tell me” and listen carefully you’ll hear the answer in their story. Instantly, you’ll understand their needs, their behaviour and why your idea will be a good one.

Dimmi Stirs Your Empathy

Experience your audience’s pain and joy to truly appreciate the goodness of your idea. Dimmi encourages you to feel your customer or colleague’s situation. Clayton Christenson calls it the “jobs to be done point of view”. People “hire” products and brands to do the job for them. Dimmi helps get your idea “hired” by placing it in your audience’s life by asking “Tell me…..

About the tasks you perform on a Saturday”

or Tell me about the last time you had to….” or

Tell me how you work through….”


Building empathy and understanding into your idea is always better because the better idea gets hired every time.

You might be the next da Vinci. But, even if you’re not you can improve your ideas and beat the long odds of idea fail by using the same method as the most curious man in the world. You just have to ask.

Like what you’ve read?

Consider David for a speaking engagement.

Be sure to discover The Unlimited Planning Process for insights and direction needed to discover and activate your unique operating system.

Get the Unlimited Blog right to your inbox Sign up here.