I have too many potential project ideas and it’s getting overwhelmed

Ungunking

UNGUNKING@2x

The Context

Of the three phases in the creative process, ideation, organization and execution, the second one is most commonly where teams get stuck. Here's how it typically goes down. There's an initial burst of enthusiasm around a project or initiative. Someone holds a kickoff meeting, sends a group email or holds a private chat. The information from the initial brainstorm gets documented and deposited into the system, but with no definite plans to move forward. And then the idea just sits there. Hovering in creative purgatory between ideation and execution. This is an intellectual transgression. When your work is trapped in a transitional state of suffering, where it either needs to repent, purify and ascend to heaven, or get banished to the inferno for all eternity, that causes unnecessary stress. Plus, it severely reduces the likelihood of execution. How many of your team's projects live in purgatory right now? Do you have ideas that are lingering somewhere between paradise and hell? It happens daily for all different kinds of teams. And it's rarely any one person's fault.

The Tool

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Ungunking

UNGUNKING -- Using a simple, binary evaluation to unclog the creative pipes and shepherd ideas through the system

The natural entropy of the creative process is a bitch. Pipes get clogged. With such an overwhelming number of ideas passing through the system, eventually the energy gets unavailable for conversion. And that's a suboptimal place to be. Now, religious scholars will tell you that the only way out of purgatory is to use prayer and fasting and almsgiving to rid the stain of sin so you can enter heaven. That sounds a bit onerous, and so, if you're looking for a more practical solution for the business world, try ungunking. It's a tool for unclogging the creative pipes and shepherding ideas through the system with a simple, binary evaluation. Like yes or no. Stay or go. Heaven or hell. Thumbs up or thumbs down. Use it or kill it. Whatever. It matters less how you phrase it and more that you keep thing moving. Whatever idea is stuck in purgatory and holding up production, somebody has to make the executive decision to get it through the system. Either it ascends to heaven or gets banished to hell. Your divine judgment will be revealed as justified, and let us all say, amen.

I find the older I get, the better I get at ungunking. I'm sure there is some kind of study about this, but to me, it's simply about the willingness to let go. To not be precious. It's amazing, we hold onto so much detritus when we're young. After age forty, it just stops mattering.

The Rest

Without such an ungunking maneuver, your team will end up with too many incomplete situations that they have some energetic investment in. That increases stress and decreases productivity. Because people will always accept some level of internal responsibility for any of those open loops. Learn how to ungunk. Release the energy in the system, get your ideas out of purgatory and put them into the hands of your customers. How will your team combat the inevitable entropy of the creative process?

The Benefits

Get projects out of creative purgatory and into customer’s hands
Reduce your overall number of incomplete situations and their related stress
Free up energy in your content management system that can be more productively deployed
Overcome the inevitable entropy of the creative process and move from ideation to execution

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