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Building Better Ideas

How Constructive Debate Inspires Courage, Collaboration and Breakthrough Solutions

B. Kim Barnes


List Price: 29.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Other Editions of This Title:
Digital Audiobook (11/4/2019)
MP3 CD (2/11/2020)
Compact Disc (2/11/2020)


Why do teams settle for bad ideas or kill good ones? Popular consultant B. Kim Barnes's unique process of constructive debate shows how teams can create better ideas and outcomes by eliminating obstacles to honest discussion, creativity, and collaboration.

In too many organizations, great ideas and unusual solutions can be suppressed, ignored, or attacked. Departments defend their turf, and people choose what is safe over what is better. Bad ideas move forward and good ideas die, which can lead to disastrous results--financial or otherwise.

Luckily, there is a workable path out of this dysfunction. Kim Barnes's process of constructive debate shows how to establish conditions that encourage the free exchange, discussion, and development of ideas and eliminate conditions that prevent potentially useful ideas from getting heard. By using this tested model, any company or team can improve outcomes and bring out everyone's best ideas.

A constructive debate is one in which a diverse group of individuals can express their ideas, engage others in building on and improving them, explore ideas deeply, and challenge one another's positions in a fair and productive way. In this book, you'll learn a set of behaviors you can model and encourage and a process you can facilitate, lead, or support your client in leading. In this time, where opinions can be tribal and differences can lead to unconstructive conflict, it's important to find ways to build robust ideas through a thoughtful, fair, and inclusive approach.

Praise For Building Better Ideas: How Constructive Debate Inspires Courage, Collaboration and Breakthrough Solutions

“In a world where just about every organization has to run faster even to stand still, this book is a quiet breakthrough of its own. It shows how to steadily and systematically create the structures, processes, and behaviors that keep good ideas from getting squashed—sorting them from the ones that are not particularly fruitful or viable—and get those built into practical plans for useful innovations. The book is so well written that experienced change agents and innovation novices alike will learn from it and see how to keep their organizations from both slow stagnation and sudden death.” 
—Allan R Cohen, Distinguished Professor in Global Leadership, Babson College, and coauthor of Influence without Authority and Entrepreneurs in Every Generation

“Ideas, in this day and age, are plentiful, but taking them from insight to action is another story. Kim Barnes draws on decades of experience to help us walk our ideas through the dense jungle and get us to the other side.”
—Beverly Kaye, coauthor of Love ’Em or Lose ’Em and Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go

“Organizations, communities, and nations desperately need new ideas. And new ideas require a climate in which they can be expressed freely, heard respectfully, and acted on urgently. Building Better Ideas offers a clear, practical, constructive road map for navigating the often-messy process of going from concept to action. Kim Barnes brings the material to life by weaving throughout the book a business fable that builds on and illustrates each concept, and at-a-glance charts enable quick and easy access to key concepts. Keep the good ideas in your organization from walking out the door through the application of the principles in this book.”
—Jim Kouzes, coauthor of The Leadership Challenge and Executive Fellow, Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University

Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 9781523085583, 168pp.

Publication Date: November 5, 2019

About the Author

B. Kim Barnes is the CEO of Barnes & Conti, an organizational learning and development firm. She has over forty years of experience in the fields of management, leadership, and organization development. Barnes has been instrumental in developing many successful training programs, including Exercising Influence, Constructive Debate, and Intelligent Risk-Taking, all copyrighted programs of Barnes & Conti. Barnes's work has been translated into twelve languages.