From Breakthrough to Boring

I recently had a conversation with a renewable energy entrepreneur about the challenge of bringing new ideas to market. Experience taught him that when his team innovates a unique solution, the key to successful user adoption is to take the offering from breakthrough to boring as quickly as possible.

His point was that if the average customer sees something as outlandish, radical, or far-fetched, they won’t adopt it. Yes, there is always a contingent of people who seek out cutting-edge ideas, but most potential customers won’t. As a result, the challenge of adoption is to lower the risk and make a big idea ordinary.

I latched onto the phrase breakthrough to boring. Not only is it a great alliteration, but it contains a fundamental lesson for leaders.

I bet that you and your team have come up with some game-changing ideas that never saw the light of day. These ideas sound fascinating in the meeting and make perfect sense on paper but fall victim to pushback by those who pronounce them as too outlandish or “not how we do things around here.”

Might I suggest that before you give up on the idea or invest time trying to argue and convince anyone, ask yourself, How can I take the idea from breakthrough to boring?

Think about the idea through the lens of:

  • Commonplace
    • Who will take action
    • When will they do it?
  • Common practice
    • What will they do?
    • How will they do it?
    • Where will they do it?
  • Common sense
    • Why will they do it?

This week’s video and worksheet are designed to assist you in answering the questions and coming up with a game plan.


Photo by Filip Mishevski on Unsplash