Michael E. Kirkpatrick ·

And so the challenge becomes one of deciding which [ideas] to say no to, and which ones to say yes to; and one of focus, not ones of, ‘Do we have any great ideas?’ We always have more ideas than we have resources to deal with. –Tim Cook

Very rarely does an organization have the problem of having only a few ideas they want to work on. Instead, they usually have lots of ideas and struggle because they – and especially their employees – want to work on all of them.

In a research and development environment, that might work out well. In a business, your job is to make money and to do that, you need to deliver top quality products. That means you pay attention to detail and you check and re-check your work. That takes time and requires you to not be distracted – say by other ideas.

That’s not to say new ideas aren’t embraced, instead ideas that improve upon existing products and processes should always be embraced. It’s the “squirrel” moments when you keep chasing neat, fun ideas that aren’t relevant to your job or the work of your company that you get into trouble.

And in today’s world of “innovation”, employees and organizations find themselves chasing all kinds of ideas as they seek to be innovative. But I wonder just how much chasing multiple ideas in many different directions really helps spur innovation. I think Tim Cook may have it right, focus is the key.