Why Your Creative Ideas Are Rejected

Innovation challenges the status quo, as a result, creates uncertainty. People fear the unknown and thus have a natural tendency to reject creativity.

Why Your Creative Ideas Are Rejected

Although managers attempt to foster creativity and innovation in their organizations, innovative ideas, are often rejected. In part, this phenomenon can be explained by the way we are wired, which precludes us from fully embracing new ideas. Our survival instinct, linked to our reptilian brain or R-complex makes us fear the unknown. It is difficult to understand the consequences of something new, so in order to protect us our brain rejects it. In this vein, the rejection of an idea can be a good sign of innovation.

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In fact, researchers from Cornell, Penn, and the University of North Carolina, studied our perceptions about creative ideas when faced with uncertainty and found out that people have an implicit bias against creativity relative to usefulness. What led the researchers to suggest that if this bias is present in most people during periods of uncertainty, then it could well explain why society has a history of rejecting its greatest innovations. Next, researchers decided to test this thesis by analyzing how individuals with a high and low tolerance for uncertainty evaluate a creative product idea. They found that those with poor tolerance for uncertainty were more likely to evaluate an innovative product poorly.

Innovation generates changes, thus they defy the stability of others, the reason why they tend to be rejected. The willingness to distinguish one’s self from others has important implications for performance on creative tasks. According to the research conducted by Scholars at Cornell University, and Johns Hopkins rejection can enhance creativity in individuals who embrace it, in order to differentiate themselves from others.

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We now know that regardless of how open-minded people are, or claim to be, they experience a natural tendency to reject creative ideas when faced with uncertain situations. This implies that if we are able to maximize certainty, our idea is more likely to be accepted.

In my opinion, when people face of uncertainty, they only trust themselves. Therefore, you need to pitch your idea as if it is theirs. Try this:

  1. First, establish common ground. Reaffirm ideas and concepts with which your boss, client, or prospect is familiar and knows to be true. 
  2. Then, connect your idea with other successful projects, or similar work so that they can understand the consequences or refer to it. It will help your idea to be perceived as more practical. 
  3. Finally, lead clients towards your idea with a series of statements they agree with, and then pitch your idea. This will help its acceptance, as it will seem like it was their own idea.

Self-knowledge allows you to operate smarter and more efficiently, and it helps you to turn weaknesses into strengths.

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