The Favorites Game: Shaking Up the Idea Process

By: Kristin Clarke

Author Peter Sheahan on his favorite idea strategy, brainstorming music, and more.

Australian author and consultant Peter Sheahan, who inspired association executives with insights and calls to action in his closing general session at ASAE's Annual Meeting & Expo, urges association leaders to "reject acceptance" when creating an idea pipeline in their organizations.

"If you run a democracy in a vote-driven organization—which many associations and causes are—you find yourself constantly seeking consensus when sometimes the best ideas aren't the most popular ideas," Sheahan says. "Association executives have to have the courage to be willing occasionally to reject consensus in pursuit of progress."

Adjusting attitudes and transforming processes that stall idea execution are covered in his recent books, Fl!p: How to Turn Everything You Know on Its Head—and Succeed Beyond Your Wildest Imaginings and Making It Happen: Turning Good Ideas Into Great Results, but he says his favorite way to change behavior is by "shifting people's personal identity" to open their minds in new ways. Here are other favorites:

Favorite idea strategy: I always like to pose the question, "What if the opposite was true?"

Favorite trendspotting website:

Favorite statistic: People who don't answer surveys. What percentage of people not only didn't engage but flat out refused to participate? That says more than the people who do.

Favorite "Flipstar" (a change leader who succeeds in an economy that runs on new ideas): British business magnate Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group.

Favorite brainstorming music: Opera.

Favorite personal cause: Entrepreneurship.

Favorite gen Y characteristic: Impatience.

Favorite personal idea: Aligning corporate strategy to social need.

Favorite idea that flopped: That fridge that throws beer at you. I'm disappointed I can't buy it!

Contributed by Kristin Clarke, a business journalist and writer and researcher for ASAE. Email: [email protected]

See Peter Sheahan at ASAE's Springtime Expo on May 3, 2012, in Washington, DC.

Kristin Clarke

Kristin Clarke is books editor for Associations Now and a business journalist and sustainability director for ASAE.