Pitching Ideas: The balance of a good idea

Jeroen van Geel
Apr 26, 2018 · 4 min read

An idea

– “An idea is an image existing or formed in the mind” — wikipedia

The core of an idea

Imagine you’ve now got a bunch of ideas generated around your goal. Some are big, some are small, some are simple, and some are complex. But in each case you need to keep in mind that when you pitch it to somebody else, it needs to immediately stick in their head. Within a few seconds of hearing it, they need to believe that you nailed it. They must feel the idea is already halfway there. To make this happen you need to find the right balance in your approach.

Making it too simple

Simple ideas often are the most dangerous; especially in the hands of charismatic people. These are the ideas that sound like they can solve a big problem instantly, but they often neglect all of the important details needed to really understand and tackle a problem. They can range from big ideas — like “Let’s build a wall between our countries to keep out criminals” or “Bring down a dictatorial government and democracy and peace will follow” — to smaller ones like “Let’s add Facebook login to this website and more people will comment.”

Making it too complex

The opposite side of simplicity is, of course, complexity. This route is one easily taken. When generating ideas we often fall in love with certain ideas and can’t get rid of them. When we see challenges ahead that can’t be fixed with our idea, instead of killing it, we start adding bits and pieces to fill in the gaps. In this way we give ourselves the feeling that we’ve actually had an idea that still solves the problem, when in reality we’ve created a feature monster.

Finding the right balance

When pitching, the best approach is not to immediately dive in and start explaining the idea’s every detail. First you have to make sure you have the audience’s attention. And if you do, he or she will give you all the time needed to fill in the gaps. Make it too simple and they will not take it seriously; make it too complex and they’ll think it’ll fail.

Note: This is an excerpt from the book ‘Pitching Ideas: Make people fall in love with your ideas.’ More information: pitchingideas.com.

Oak & Morrow

Insights and thoughts by the people of Oak & Morrow — a strategic design studio.

Jeroen van Geel

Written by

Designer, strategist, speaker, optimist. Author of Pitching Ideas and co-founder of Oak & Morrow.

Oak & Morrow

Insights and thoughts by the people of Oak & Morrow — a strategic design studio.