The last three of Robert Sutton’s Weird
Ideas That Work
tell us to ignore sources that most people consider “good”
counsel: customers, critics, financial experts, people that have solved our
problem before, and our own past successes. 

There is a time and place
to test new ideas and listen to these sources (see Weird Idea 9), but it isn’t
as we’re first identifying the possibilities.

Weird Idea 9: Avoid, Distract, and Bore Customers,
Critics, and Anyone Who Just Wants to Talk About Money

This chapter focuses on
when and how to invite or banish attention from “outsiders”. Times to banish attention include:

“When the team is
developing a brand-new product, solution, or service, and not making
incremental improvements in existing ones” 

“When outsiders keep
insisting that things should be done the way they’ve always been done”

“When people are spending
too much time working on ways to present innovative ideas, and not enough time
developing ideas”  

Weird Idea 10: Don’t Try to Learn Anything from
People Who Seem to Have Solved the Problems You Face

Capitalize on

“Sometimes being ignorant,
but curious, playful, and persistent, is better than knowing the way things are
supposed to be done and the way that others have done them.”

Weird Idea 11: Forget the Past, Especially Your
Company’s Successes

“…the way the human brain
operates makes us prone to repeating what we have done in the past, especially
if it was successful.”

When discussing ways to
forget about the past, Professor Sutton talks about starting a separate company
or business unit, locating it far away from the corporate center, and doing
“everything possible to get people in it to ignore, defy, and rebel against the
organizational code.” 

Sutton quotes William
Coyne, a former 3M R&D executive: “After you plant a seed in the ground,
you don’t dig it up every week to see how it is doing.”

This last batch of weird
ideas helps keep the seed in the ground until it’s ready to push through on its