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Friday, April 12, 2013

Ideation fixation paradigm leveraged proactively

It's a Friday afternoon in Silicon Valley. It reminds me of another Friday afternoon maybe two or three years ago. It was time for the weekly wrap-up where everyone gets together and talks about what's going on. At least, that's how it started. It had changed into a one-way dog and pony show over time, but it wasn't entirely obvious to me yet.

I watched as some random people from a part of the company I had never even heard of before got up on the stage and started giving a presentation. It was some big shiny polished affair with slides and a pair of people who would switch off just like a couple of newscasters. There was one part of this which didn't make any sense to me.

They used the word "ideate". I don't just mean once, and just that form, but rather, many times, and in various forms. I'm talking about probably a dozen different cases of throwing that in there while they were blathering on about whatever it was.

The first mention woke up my corporate BS detector and the second mention activated it. However, by the tenth or eleventh instance, I was just beside myself. What kind of hell have we descended into where this kind of corporate stupid-speak is being taken seriously? Where are the engineering roots which supposedly founded this company?

I had to get up and leave. It was just horrible. Back at my desk, I posted something to the internal space I had been using for muck-raking and generally snarking about dumb things. It was effectively an open letter to everyone in general, asking them to kindly knock it off -- that is, drop the corporate nonsense talk!

There are plenty of ways to talk about things. However, if you choose a certain subset, you can basically say "I spend all day in meetings and do nothing else here". These people were doing exactly that, and I couldn't possibly take them seriously.

I mean, come on, are you honestly going to say that a bunch of people "had an ideation" about something and that your new project "enables them to ideate"? They did... over and over.

Then again, someone once told me that we should have a "groupthink" about something, so there's that. It's like we're using the same words but are speaking two completely different languages.