I am sure you have read many times about the value of original thinking and how only a special breed of super humans like Albert Einstein or Paul McCartney that have this special and cherished gene. Original thinkers are to be revered and respected? Not true.
How many original thinkers have you met; that person who can come up with a great idea, a new perspective or a possible solution to create ease amongst the pigeons, when the cat is let out of the bag?
Do you have someone in mind - maybe yourself? Before you wrench your tennis elbow patting yourself on the back, let me just say… big deal!
The value of original thinking is in the currency it provides to buy original action. Otherwise all you have is wishing and there is nothing very original in that?
If original thinking is tantamount to wishing then my four year-old nephew is the world's greatest original thinker. But he is not a leader or a millionaire or a shaper of other people's lives - yet alone his own. He makes wishes and he expects others to fulfil them - his overworked parents mostly. That they often do their best to fulfil his dreams is the simple love of a parent for a child. I doubt your boss or colleagues love you quite that much.
If all it takes to join the likes of Paul, John, George and Ringo on the gravy train is to come up with a few ideas and allow others to fulfil my genius, then I can wish for England. Somehow though, I don't think that is what people have in mind when they talk about the great original thinkers.
If you truly think about it, each one of us is an original thinker in his or her own right. What would make us unique and ultimately worthy of the implied reverence is "original doing." What we need are people prepared to act, to turn ideas into action and action into product.
What we really must learn to appreciate is not the "original thinker" but the "original doer."
Think of all the successful people you have met that have got to the top through some kind of innovation –are you really going to tell me that they were the first one to think about it? Nonsense, they were the first one to do something about it! Or, at least do something about it effectively.
Original thinking and original doing are linked and share a cyclic partnership. Original thinking must be followed by action. When action grinds to a halt, as it does, original thinking takes its place once more to overcome the obstacle and back to action again: repeat till success.
Don't allow the baby-wishing syndrome to affect your organisation or yourself. Don't allow someone to make wishes that others must fulfil. Encourage original thinkers into becoming original doers, otherwise you will stifle one and frustrate the other.
Thinking alone never solved anything. Original thinking is not the panacea that it claims to be.
Oh, sure you will find your share of so-called admirers, the kind who applaud your creativity in public and then stifle a yawn of apathy in private. These are the same people who will laugh obsequiously at all of the boss's bad jokes, who know all the latest buzzwords and can make an interesting conversation but are rarely the people you can count on. They have joined the ride while it's easy and free, but you won't find them driving anytime soon.
You can't have the idea without the responsibility, so if you don't want to do it, don't bother thinking it. Don't pluck the fruit if you aren't hungry enough to eat it or prepared to accept the consequences. That is the road a certain Adam found himself on and I don't want you to bite from the same apple. That would be a sin.