“It can’t be done.”
“It’s not feasible.”
“It’s too difficult.”
“It’s not possible.”
These and other similar naysayer phrases have no place in the life of an innovator. The act of innovation by definition requires that we tackle big, unsolved problems in novel ways. Successful innovation is the primary driver of growth.
“The question of our times is not just, ‘Can we build a product?;’ it’s ‘Should we build it?’” – Eric Ries
We cherish the opportunity to take on challenges that others have deemed too difficult or impossible. Furthermore, in software, there is almost nothing that is impossible. It comes down to is balancing risk and effort with opportunity cost.
“Don’t find fault; find a remedy.” – Henry Ford
If you aspire to be accretive to innovation, you don’t want to be the naysayer. You may think it’s helpful to call out all the pitfalls of a proposed solution, but it’s more valuable to propose suggestions that make the proposed solution even better.
Worse than being unhelpful, naysayers can sometimes stand in the way of innovation. If you make a big production out of how a proposed solution won’t work, and the team decides to try it anyway, you may feel like your reputation will be tarnished if the solution succeeds. Unwittingly, you may even find yourself trying to undermine the solution’s success at every turn. You don’t want to be the person!
“Move fast. Take risks. It’s okay to try big things. You’re better off trying something and having it not work and then learning from that than having not done anything at all.” – Mark Zuckerberg
Instead, innovators should set aside their fears and doubts, and engage in a “solution-oriented” collaboration. How can we do it? If there are competing proposals, look for synergies to create even better proposals. Use lean, fast experimentation to find the best approach rather than just arguing about it.
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison
As innovators, we should believe that there’s no problem too difficult for us to solve. We should have the dogged determination to try and keep trying until we succeed. We should support each other’s passion to finding that success. We should have no place for naysayers.