The Zombie Test

How do you know your project is a good idea? Try to let it die. Seriously.

I have had this happen several times in the last year. Things that have gone nowhere for months suddenly resurface.

Take for example this Business Improv for Design Thinkers workshop I keep writing about. It took a full five months from the first conversation to when we held the workshop. I would go through a month or two of radio silence as they worked with their stakeholders and packed calendars. During those times, I could have let this go and no one would have been the wiser. And, given my fear of public speaking, I was tempted. But because this idea continued to bubble up from my subconscious, I kept pursuing this. And eventually, it came to fruition.

The opposite has happened at work with a project that I developed and chased and ran past management, peers, and people all over the globe. Eventually, I was exhausted and opted out. I didn’t see a feasible way to get this thing running without it collapsing under its own weight. Three months later, a chance meeting near the coffee machine resurrected it again. I keep trying to kill it. But people like it so much it claws it’s way out of the ground begging to be chased down again.

So, if you find yourself overwhelmed and burnt out with your extracurriculars and discretionary efforts, just stop putting effort into them and see which ones refuse to die. These are the ideas that have merit.

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