Some innovation teams and creatives seem to never want to let go of their favorite ideas, even after they have proven that they are not going anywhere.

Yet there are also individuals and teams who have the opposite problem.

They may start on one idea, yet before they can make meaningful progress, or especially when things begin to get challenging, they quickly find another idea and shift all their focus towards the new thing.

The grass is always greener on the other side.

This situation is often called “Shiny Object Syndrome”, where someone continually wants to work on the newest, most trendy things, but quickly gets distracted and drops it to work on something newer when it comes around. 

It is inspired by the practice of some animals and birds wanting to collect any shiny object. 

While there is nothing wrong with being interested and inspired by new things, and it can be vital for keeping your finger on the pulse of new technologies and what customers want, the issue comes with dropping what was previously worked on.

You can end up starting from the beginning each time you switch, losing all the progress you previously made, and ending up with a large number of unfinished works. And anything unfinished cannot add value.

And anything truly creative or innovative will take a large number of iterations, and therefore time, to make progress and eventually become finished. And keeping up focus, energy, and enthusiasm over an extended period of time can be really challenging.

You will encounter a lot of frustrations along the way, and at each of these moments, it can be very tempting to quit the project which is currently taking your energy and giving you frustration, and instead want to shift to the new shiny thing which you are energised by.

It is fine to be working on multiple things simultaneously. Sometimes, as long as each project is still given time and focus, this can result in ideas and insights cross-pollinating between the projects and making them all better and more likely to succeed. But people distracted by shiny objects forget the previous projects completely.

If you keep quitting before the last thing is finished, you will end up with a large collection of worthless ideas.

Remember, when it comes to creativity and innovation, execution is everything.

Did you know that scientific evidence shows your creativity decreases over time

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Creativity & Innovation expert: I help individuals and companies build their creativity and innovation capabilities, so you can develop the next breakthrough idea which customers love. Chief Editor of and Founder / CEO of Improvides Innovation Consulting. Coach / Speaker / Author / TEDx Speaker / Voted as one of the most influential innovation bloggers.