Divergent Thinking, Eliminating Judgment, And The Value Of A Bad Idea

Divergent Thinking, Eliminating Judgment, And The Value Of A Bad Idea 


The guest on today’s podcast is Jeremy Utley, the Director of Executive Education at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford School, speaking on the aspects of developing skills from ideas, which can be highlighted in his new book “Ideaflow: The Only Business Metric That Matters” co-written with Perry Klebahn. 


“Ideaflow: The Only Business Metric That Matters” is an outlook on the concept ofideaflow(the number of ideas you and your team can generate in a set amount of time), and its applicability in the world of esports and the business of esports entrepreneurs. This book gives you a proven strategy by the authors to help you come up with great ideas for yourself or your team.  They drew them from their experiences with their Launchpad accelerator idea, to advising companies such as Microsoft, Michelin, Williams Realty, and Hyatt, these are some of the things they teach you to do:

  • Overcome dangerous thinking traps
  • Find inspiration in unexpected places 
  • Trick your own brain to be more creative
  • Design and deploy affordable experiments
  • Fill your innovation pipeline
  • Unleash your own creative potential, as well as the potential of others


There is the aspect of divergent voices, which Jeremy breaks down as the team brings in novel concepts to the plate as though they were bags of Lego blocks to be able to make new connections. This is stemming from the fact that ideas are birthed from existing experiences and thoughts. 


In the instance of esports entrepreneurs and who they should be listening to to help broaden their perspective in the business, Jeremy advises that they listen to their customers, or the people whose lives they are trying to change and should have empathy for. There are also supply chains, advertisers and team members from other verticals in the business that they can listen to. And they could consider people in unrelated fields as they can apply knowledge from there as well into their business. 


His inflection of bringing people into esports on a business level came from dissatisfaction; telling the same stories all the time and not being thoughtful about fresh input. But he realized that he had to be intentional about his learning being his own responsibility, and that gradually changed when he began talking to people – women especially because he had almost all his stories from men. So being intentional about your inspiration matters. Going out to speak or engage with people is a discipline – you get your best ideas from interacting with people. The more people you engage with, the more refined you get to have your ideas. So in the end you are finding the ideas and not painstakingly sitting to draft them from scratch. 


“To think out of the box is to first get out of the box, and then think there, or from there” – (paraphrased by Jeremy)


What to do with this statement is the way to go with transforming team members into idea generators by first helping them identify what they do individually and then how to create group genius. No ideas are to be silenced and quantity is important to developing oneself on the individual level with idea generation. As many as ten ideas a day would do, and no it is not to find if all are great, because there would obviously be some that aren’t. Just to see how far you will be willing to go with generating ideas is what is needed. And then on the group level, the questions asked are how to bring members successfully to create group genius, as well as how to facilitate interaction. 


Also noteworthy to generating ideas is keeping “bad ideas”, because they are incredibly valuable, and the lens they are to be viewed in is with the question “What does that make me think of?”. Spotting errors is equally important as seeing the value of absurd ideas and the possibility they can bring, because bad ideas can potentially trigger creativity in the next man, and should the risk be taken, it will be worth it. 


For Gamers Change Lives Podcast

Jeffrey Osei-Agyeman

21st January, 2023.