Bad Idea: Let’s Eat At McDonald’s

Great stuff about bad ideas in this post from Jon Bell. First, an everyday application

…when we’re trying to decide where to eat for lunch and no one has any ideas. I recommend McDonald’s.

An interesting thing happens. Everyone unanimously agrees that we can’t possibly go to McDonald’s, and better lunch suggestions emerge.

It’s as if we’ve broken the ice with the worst possible idea, and now that the discussion has started, people suddenly get very creative.

Then he applies this principle to creative work.

I call it the McDonald’s Theory: people are inspired to come up with good ideas to ward off bad ones.

The next time a project is being discussed in its early stages, grab a marker, go to the board, and throw something up there. The idea will probably be stupid, but that’s good! McDonald’s Theory teaches us that it will trigger the group into action…Say, “This is probably crazy, but what if we.-“

The article is short and direct and makes the point so well. This is an area I’ve been exploring over the past year or so (see article on Core77 here and slide deck from SXSW here) and it’s great to see others doing so as well.


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