One of the most important innovative behaviours is what I call ‘bouncing.’
It’s when one person has an idea and they bounce it off another person.
The concept of bouncing has a long history in creative collaboration.
“We’d sit down and say, ‘OK, what are we going to do?’ and we’d just start off strumming and one or the other of us would kick off some kind of idea and then we’d just develop it and bounce off each other.”
– Paul McCartney on his relationship with John Lennon
“Once I find my creative inspiration, I meet with our design teams to review ideas.
The design process is a collaborative effort, and that’s what I love about it.
We bounce ideas around as we visualize concepts with sketches and after countless drawings we begin to solidify the season’s designs”
– Tommy Hilfiger (fashion designer)
It is a behavior that can be learned and practiced by anyone in organisational life.
I recently asked a colleague to help me bounce around a new way of looking at small wins.
I have known this person for some time and he works in a different industry but he is very smart and I trust his judgement.
Here is what he did that was very effective bouncing behavior:
- He gave up half and hour of his time
I think bouncing sessions have to be short.
As a bouncer you need to be able to get to the point and be respectful of the other person’s time.
There is also something valuable in being able to succinctly express your new idea or potential solution.
- He actively listened
The person receiving the idea has to be a good listener.
They need to really listen to the idea and try not to pre-judge it.
- He asked some great questions
The receiver of the idea can sometimes add the most value by asking some good questions.
Questions that clarify, challenge or give a new perspective.
My colleague kept asking me for example, yes that’s nice but how are you going to make money?
And where have you seen this model work?
These are powerful questions that have stayed with me.
- He suggested some new options
The receiver of an idea should also bounce back some of their own ideas or suggestions.
For example my colleague asked me:
What about China? Or another overseas market?
- Most of all he was honest
This is a very important part of the bouncing behaviour.
The person receiving any new idea or solution should be absolutely honest in their responses.
Authentic feedback even if it is not exactly what you want to hear is vital.
Bouncing potential new ideas, solutions, decisions or actions are an important way to improve, collaborate and grow.
It’s an example of a powerful innovative behavior that all leaders can learn and apply with immediate results.
It requires trust, humility and and openness.
And also can benefit both parties as the bouncer obtains feedback and the receiver perhaps has their mind opened.
A classic win – win.