I think that how you share ideas is just as important as the idea itself. The most revolutionary idea, poorly articulated, will come across as mediocre and humdrum.
I've been playing around with this theme lately. I think that many businesses struggle with how to share ideas. We've all found ourselves in the audience in this cartoon, completely uninspired by one bullet-pointed slide after another. Boredom is almost the conventional expectation when a speaker loads a PowerPoint presentation.
It struck me that this approach is like camouflage for ideas. Ideas start to look alike when they're presented in the exact same format. Rather than making the ideas stronger by presenting them consistently, they make them weaker.
The most successful presentation I ever gave was when I debuted a new product at a conference for sales brokers. They had just seen one PowerPoint after another filled with positioning, benefit summaries, and competitive statements.
My new product was a mop kit that was designed to take on the monopoly of P&G's Swiffer through design and sustainability.
I came onto the stage dressed like Jimi Hendrix playing air guitar to his song "Killing Floor" with a mop on a guitar strap. Projected behind me was a Photoshopped image of Jimi setting the Swiffer on fire. Wearing an afro wig and psychedelic shirt, I went through a discussion of why this innovation was as disruptive as Jimi's reinvention of "Pop" at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967.
This wasn't all theatrics. I shared all the details and support points, but they were almost irrelevant. The audience remembered the metaphor, not the details. In the break, the brokers all wanted to talk about the mop. My presentation scored the highest results in the broker conference poll, and I didn't use a single bullet point.
Now more than ever, the world desperately needs remarkable ideas. But, the ideas need to be shared in a way that is just as remarkable.
As Jimi Hendrix once sang, "wave your freak flag high."