Too often we only want to see a polished version of a new idea before we even start to discuss it or make decisions on it. The problem is by the time the creator of the idea gets to a polished state they’ve already invested their time and energy into it and will try and defend it exactly how they’ve made it. This mentality is okay to have later on in the process when you’re reviewing an idea before it ships or you invest a lot of money in it to make sure it’s the best it possibly is. Any other time be it in the very early stages or during development when you’re making trade offs this mentality will just slow you down and can lead to a needlessly killed idea or sub-par idea moving forward.
The best time to talk about ideas is when they aren’t even worth looking at. An unorganized list that only makes sense to the person that wrote it, random parts collected from around the office taped and stapled together to slightly resemble what the idea is, or a marketing poster with typos and bad formatting. These are the types of ideas that you should be talking and meeting about.
At this stage in the idea process the essence of the idea has come out but the creator hasn’t fully committed to the execution of it yet and is open to ideas and feedback on how to proceed. In general the creator of the idea will even be thankful for your advice and feedback. Usually they will have so many possible ways forward they won’t know where to go and your feedback will give them the jump start needed to go down a path. It takes more time to look at ideas early in the process when they’re a jumbled mess but in the end it will be beneficial for everyone involved. You’ll get better and more flushed out ideas down the pipeline and your employees will be happier working on ideas that have a better chance of moving forward.