What Sharing Ideas At Work Does For Us

There are many benefits from sharing ideas at work. I thought it would be good to write this because I occasionally hear people talk about sharing creates stolen ideas and in return fighting over those stolen ideas. There are other thoughts on why sharing ideas at work shouldn’t be done but my focus on why it’s a good idea is based on this opposition.

I don’t know about you, but I want to work better. Not only do I want to work better, I want to get better at what I do every day. I have no desire to be the subject matter expert that holds my knowledge like a currency that people are trying to steal.

Here are some of the reasons I like to share ideas at work and make what I know and learn public knowledge for others to benefit from.

Get Better

Every time I share ideas with others and have a discussion with them I get better. There’s a natural exchange of ideas there and no single idea is original. By sharing ideas at work, I’m able to get better at my job while others also get better at their job.

When I collaborate and share, everyone is improving at the same time which then allows us all to reach higher levels of expertise even faster.

I want to get better at my job and have more skills to transfer to other jobs if necessary and sharing does just that.

Connecting Ideas In New Ways

One person can never have an idea that’s perfect. By sharing my ideas at work I am exposed to a side I may have never thought of before. New and better things come out of sharing ideas with others.

Think about a subject matter expert who doesn’t make their knowledge available to others unless forced and then it’s a one way road. They spew information as others record it.

This way of working never lets you connect your ideas with others and improve upon both ideas. There’s no way one brain can think of every angle, so everybody has to cooperate and work together to reach a common larger goal. The human race is a cooperative race and its allowed us to do great things.

Sitting on an idea like you own it has never helped anybody meet a greater goal.

We Give, We Receive

By sharing ideas and working together, everyone involved benefits and receives a bit back. Without making it known what we’re doing and thinking, it’s impossible for others to contribute to that knowledge.

The same goes for everyone else. If nobody makes it known what they’re working on and what they’re thinking, you won’t be able to contribute to their work!

We Connect

Modern work that isn’t easy to automate is all based off of connections. Connecting is uniquely human and can’t be automated or taken away. The connections we make come through sharing knowledge and what we’re working on, those connections in return allow us to do bigger things.

The more connections we make the more we can do in a shorter amount of time. Think about a project you’ve started and haven’t known any of the people you’re working on. That can be a challenge to get started figure out who is the best person for each job. If you have taken time to foster connections then it’s that much easier to find who you need to get things done.

We Listen, We Think

It’s impossible to continue to spew information and ever learn anything from anybody. When we take a moment, shut up, and listen, we can gain a lot more insights and build on our own knowledge much easier.

Sharing ideas at work seems like it’s the practice of just spewing information and never consuming, but it’s not. Part of sharing your ideas and making that exchange of knowledge is in the consumption of others ideas. As we read others ideas and what they’re working on, we have our own thoughts that we also share.

When we listen, we’re forced to think about our own ideas and fine tune those. If we listen, we’re better equipped for the discussion with others to develop better ideas together.

Diversity Innovates

The more minds that come together and from all different backgrounds, the better off we are able to come up with new and wonderful things.

If everybody agrees on a solution and there was never any debating, there’s a good chance that the solution won’t be as good as it could have been. Diversity of thought allows for different angles of each idea to be uncovered. Great things come out of this.

Ideas Come & Go

Ideas are never something you want to hold like you own them, they aren’t currency. Ideas are temporary and others will have the same ideas anyway. Connections are more important. Connecting with people and connecting of ideas. Connecting ideas is where innovation comes from, and connecting with people makes those innovation come to life.

Ideas aren’t important to hold on to, their only importance is in sharing them with others. Make yourself open and share with others what you’re doing and what your thoughts are. Once you start doing this you’ll find that the world begins opening up to you in new ways.

Expand beyond your organizations walls too. Never share only within your organization and never feel limited to the diversity it has to offer. The more you open up to the entire world and share with those across the globe, the more you’ll learn and grow.

Global connections introduces that diversity of ideas everyone needs. Ideas come and go but the diverse connections you can make globally cannot be replaced and will not fail you.

Finishing Up

The idea for this article came from a very unlikely place that I would have never thought. Being open to reading those ideas and not just blowing them off is a great way to improve yourself.

Amazing things happen when you inadvertently realize why you think what you think, and only others can help you reach those ideas.

Here’s my finishing statement to sum it all up, the comment I made that inspired this post:

When sharing happens, everyone is able to boost productivity at a faster pace. Also, more importance is put on problems solving and innovation and not ideas which are impossible to hold  for long. If you hold ideas as a currency for employment then there will come a point when that currency is worthless. Value must be created and recreated in the form of the networks we create and maintain. That’s not something that can be stolen, lost, or diminished.

6 Comments

  1. BrunoWinck on September 7, 2015 at 8:48 am

    100% agree with your explanation.

    Idea’s are free and open source by nature. Only the application of ideas can be protected. The more you keep repeating that, the better you are prepared for sharing.

    The only way to protect them is to keep them secret and as you explained very well if they are not transformed into projects, they perish.

    My experience is that to turn them into projects, they must be shown, shared, debated. In 2015, they are tested, prototyped even earlier. Bottom line, unless you have a large team, you have to share early to make progress. It’s much easier if you adopted a sharing culture upfront.

    We hear failing early, failing forward is better. What I learned is that sharing early is a way to learn more from failures and become more agile to find the positive points.

    We should repeat it again 🙂

    • Nick Leffler on September 7, 2015 at 9:20 am

      Yup, ideas can only be protected to a certain point too. Every idea anybody has is a rehash of several other ideas, that’s how “new” ideas come about. They’re not really new, but improvements upon the previous. Everything is small incremental improvements, nothing is ever new so it’s best to share and improve everyone in the process, only then are greater ideas created.

    • Nick Leffler on September 7, 2015 at 1:47 pm

      Yup, ideas can only be protected to a certain point too. Every idea anybody has is a rehash of several other ideas, that’s how “new” ideas come about. They’re not really new, but improvements upon the previous. Everything is small incremental improvements, nothing is ever new so it’s best to share and improve everyone in the process, only then are greater ideas created.

  2. Michelle Ockers on September 7, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    Great summary of the benefits to the individual or sharing their ideas at work. An important point you make about listening as well. Your post made me want to continue to get better at how I share ideas so that I and others around me can continue to get better at what we all do. Thank you for this post and for being part of my network.

    • Nick Leffler on September 7, 2015 at 1:50 pm

      Thanks Michelle for the comment! I’m glad you want to continue to get better at how you share ideas! I’m also constantly trying to improve, something you can never perfect 🙂

  3. Nikhil Patel on March 4, 2018 at 10:23 pm

    A good article, connecting with others is so important when developing new ideas, so sharing and being open can be very beneficial.

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