What IF

Written by Kal Malik

“What IF” describes itself as the worlds largest independent innovation company. Having read both of their books:

q       How to Have Kick-Ass Ideas: Get Curious, Get Adventurous, Get Creative”
q       Sticky Wisdom
It certainly is a company that I have considered applying for on several occasions. In their book, "Sticky Wisdom" the author suggests…six main ways of being more creative.

One of these I would like to expand on in this article, since I have personally found it to be transforming in the work and social place. In Sticky Wisdom they call it Green housing and the analogy is thus:

When plants are young, because of there fragility it is best to place them in a controlled environment. This "green house" ensures that they are protected from the harshness of temperature, predators and wild weathers. After they have been tended to for some time, with careful watering, feeding and a decent amount of love they will be ready and fitful to survive in the "real" world.
Translating this analogy to the workplace. Imagine you are in a meeting at work and the chairperson has asked for ideas to some problem. You tentatively suggest a, virgin, new and rather novel idea…
Working as an IT contractor I have had the opportunity to work in over 25 companies in the last ten years and thus have had a variety of experiences in meetings. Since reading sticky wisdom I have been more observant in meetings to see what happens when just such a scenario as above comes into play.
In my experience the first place that listeners come from is the one of "How will that not work?" They begin to pull the idea down, in popular vernacular it is referred to as "shooting it down" an apt description since, to the one who presented it, it does feel like it has been shot down.
Not only that, but such treatment of suggestions stifles future opinions and contributions from that member of the team and you wouldn’t be surprised to hear this coming from their lips later on…"That's the last time you’ll get me suggesting anything!"
What if we were to transpose our original “greenhouse” analogy to this tale? Let’s say that the idea that was suggested was a seedling plant, just presented to its environment.
Now instead of chucking it straight into the harsh "shooting gallery" arena, what if we were to put it into a "greenhouse" for ideas such that we give it what it needs to thrive and flourish?
What if we began with a notion of…"let us look at ten ways in which we could make that idea work, before we considered the ways in which it wouldn’t?”

This scenario works well in social situations too, our friends and family have big dreams inside them, we all do

For many of us these dreams go unvoiced because we don’t want them shot down in flames.
Imagine if we used the same green-housing principles with our friends and family? I recall a friend once coming up to me and telling me about their dream of wanting to be a clown in a circus. I was surprised and delighted that they would share this rather unusual dream with me and asked them why they had picked me out to share this marvel, my friend truly humbled me when she said that it was because I let dreams flourish.

Dreams, ideas, suggestions are often fragile. Our treatment of them can bring unbelievable changes in peoples attitudes and beliefs. Sadly, our treatment of these fragilities can lead to them being buried in depths that is hard to surface from. Indeed the truth maybe that sometimes these dreams die. Awareness and practicing of the greenhouse principle ensures that we always have fresh buds exploding into bloom in our personal and professional lives.
If you are a manager, in the next meeting add a flip chart sheet to the wall with the heading “Green House”, any ideas that are suggested in the meeting are put into the green house, whilst in there only supportive suggestions can be made. Once these suggestions have been explored in detail, move the idea out of the green house and see if it survives in the real world too.
With friends and family, listen. It is that simple. Listen and ask yourself, is this person suggesting something? If so, immediately put it into the greenhouse, explore the idea from a perspective of, “it can be done, lets see how.” Make this a habit and you will be surprised at the rewards.
Kal Malik is a renowned author, teacher and speaker in the fields of personal/spiritual development, holistic therapies and para-psychology.

For the last twenty years, Kal has been a parapsychological investigator and explorer. As a result of his extensive study and experience in this domain Kal has taught parapsychology for the last 12 years and regularly speaks on related subjects.

Kal has written 10 books on holistic therapies and just finished, “Active Enlightenment – How to Create Miracles”.

Kal holds degrees in Information Technology, Psychology and a Masters in Artificial Intelligence. He is a qualified teacher, holistic therapist, a certified NLP practitioner, life coach, Reiki master and a practitioner of energy harmony. There is more information on his website Original Purity
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