How to Pitch Your Great Idea

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The are a few factors that can influence whether people accept or reject your idea.

If coming up with a brilliant idea is hard, getting people to agree with you can prove just as difficult. 

"We operate under this assumption that the world will magically see how great our idea is, but great ideas get rejected all the time," said David Burkus, author of The Myths of Creativity: The Truth About How Innovative Companies and People Generate Great Ideas. 

Burkus, who also teaches creativity and innovation courses at Oral Roberts University, spoke to Money Talking host Charlie Herman about how to recognize and pitch great ideas.

He suggested a five criteria checklist for structuring a pitch or judging which idea to invest time in.

1. Relative advantage: Ask yourself if your idea has an easy to see advantage over an existing product or process. "That’s the thing that gets people excited even when it’s our idea," Burkus said.

2. Compatibility: How much  does your idea build off something people already know? If there's a huge cost to trying it because it’s a totally new thing, then people won't give it a shot. But if it's seen as the next step in a process people are already familiar with, then you have a chance. 

3. Complexity: "If you have to explain the punchline of a joke, it’s not funny," Burkus said. Same goes for your idea. If people can't understand it, they won't buy into it.

4. Trialability: How low is the bar  to trying your idea? "If there’s a steep cost involved in somebody adopting or it testing it, then it’s less likely [to] see the light of day," Burkus said.

5. Observability: How easy is it to see the results from people who've tried your idea out? "That’s why there’s a before-and-after shot on fitness products," Burkus said. People are more inclined to try something that's worked for someone else.

Extra advice: Think of your idea as a prototype. Burkus said the biggest harm you can do to yourself is thinking your idea has to be implemented 100 percent as you initially conceived it. "Let your idea change as other people get a hold of it," he said.

For more, check out Burkus’ article on pitching your "crazy" ideas for the Harvard Business Review.

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