"The Killing Fields" of Innovation: How to Kill Ideas

Karen Ingerslev

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


This paper points to seemingly contradicted processes of framing innovation, idea generation and killing ideas. It reports from a yearlong innovation project, where health care professionals explored problems and tested ideas for solutions, regarding a future downsizing of the case hospital. Theories in various ways describe the opening and closing phases of innovation. Exploration and idea generation opens a field of interest, which is then closed by making choices of ideas to further explore in the next opening phase. These choices deliberately kill a lot of ideas. In the innovation project, however, substantial amounts of relevant ideas got killed during opening phases, where the purpose of activities was framed as idea generation. These ideas were either verbally or silently killed, and some in rather contradicted ways: The design and facilitation of brain storming processes lead to clustering of ideas, a design strategy which seemed to kill unique ideas. The reframing of innovation as a radical endeavor killed learning from others for being not innovative. The findings of this paper supplement theories of deliberate killing of ideas by suggesting framing, design and facilitation of innovation as more subtle ways of killing ideas during opening phases.
TidsskriftInnovation Journal
Udgave nummer3
Antal sider17
StatusUdgivet - 2014


  • Health care
  • Innovation
  • Framing
  • Design
  • Facilitation