McDonald’s theory—break the ice with the worst idea

Published on Jun 22, 2020  |  2 minute read

Ideas are hard. Sharing ideas is just as hard. No one wants to share a bad idea but don’t underestimate the value of those ideas. Bad ideas kick start the creative process and allow people to speak their mind—reassured that the worst idea is already on the table.

So why not break the ice with the worst idea? If you say it, others might start sharing their good ideas with confidence.

I first read about the McDonald’s theory from Jon Bell who provides a great example:

I use a trick with co-workers when we’re trying to decide where to eat for lunch and no one has any ideas. I recommend McDonald’s.

An interesting thing happens. Everyone unanimously agrees that we can’t possibly go to McDonald’s, and better lunch suggestions emerge. Magic!

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