Computer ‘web’ to change billions of lives (yeah, right)…
A few weeks ago this article made the viral rounds on the internet – it’s a spoof. The clues are there, “Dot Comme” writes it for starters.
However, it’s an excellent spoof because it’s so believable. It’s believable because when an idea is new it is often met with scepticism. Imagine, if you can, going back to a time before the internet existed. We mostly communicated by phone (landlines, not mobiles), fax, putting letters in the post or face-to-face conversations. Email didn’t exist.
Back in the 1980’s the idea of an invention that could connect the entire world was stretching the imagination.
Most new ideas are met with scepticism. Let’s consider the Ice Bucket Challenge. Even just a few months before this fundraising craze took off, if you had been in a meeting trying to come up with new fundraising ideas and suggested that people film themselves pouring a bucket of iced water over their heads, I don’t think that people would have been dashing out of the room to get some ice, a camera and a bucket.
The spoof headline could look like this.
People pouring buckets of iced water over their heads raises enough money to fund a motor neurone disease breakthrough (yeah right)
The money raised from ice bucket challenge has had a breakthrough impact on motor neurone disease research.
Ice Bucket Challenge didn’t originate at a charity meeting to come up with new fundraising ideas – and that’s not surprising.
It’s not surprising because we often kill new ideas before they have a chance to develop.
Ideas, if they are genuinely new seem unlikely, just like the concept of the internet in the 1980s. But unless we consider unlikely ideas and ask ourselves, ‘What if this could work?’ or ‘How might this work?’, then how will we ever find out?
Most of the time we either hold ourselves back from sharing our new ideas for fear of being ridiculed. . Or when we are brave enough to say our idea out loud it’s often ignored because it’s too new, too uncomfortable, too uncertain.
If you work with data you are in a tremendous position, because you may be able to spot trends in your supporter data that others don’t see. You may have a different take on a situation. Because of the nature of your role, it’s likely that you will have a different perspective to a ‘frontline fundraiser’, and this is a perfect environment for generating new ideas.
So next time you have a good idea and you keep it to yourself, remember, “the internet – yeah right” and understand that might be the reaction you get, but it doesn’t mean that your idea is wrong or bad. You just have to spend some time helping people understand its potential and find a way to test it out on a small scale.
And next time someone comes to you with an idea that’s new, hold back on your knee jerk reaction of “yeah right”,and before you write it off ask some more questions about how it might work.
If you hold back from saying your ideas, or if you don’t support your colleagues to share theirs, the biggest risk is that you are missing out on a fundraising opportunity that could have the potential to fund the next breakthrough for your cause.