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How to Kill Off a Good Idea

1. See it coming and quickly change the subject.

2. Ignore it. Dead silence intimidates all but the most enthusiastic.

3. Feign interest but do nothing about it. This at least prevents the originator from taking it elsewhere.

4. Scorn it. "You're joking, of course." Make sure to get your comment in before the idea is fully explained.

5. Laugh it off. "Ho, ho ho, that's a good one. You must have been awake all night thinking that one up."

6. Praise it to death. By the time you have expounded its merits for five minutes everyone will hate it.

7. Mention that it has never been tried before. If the idea is genuinely original, this is certain to be true. Alternatively, say, "If the idea's so wonderful, why hasn't someone else already tried it?"

8. Say, "Oh, we've tried that before" - even if it is not true. Particularly effective with newcomers. It makes them realise what complete outsiders they are.

9. Come up with a competitive idea. This can be dangerous tactic, however, as you might still be left with an idea to follow up.

10. Stall it with: "You're ahead of your time! Brilliant! We're not ready for it yet, but in the fullness of time.."

11. Modify it out of existence. This is elegant. You seem to be helping the idea along, just changing it a bit here and there. By the time the originator realises what's happening, the idea is dead.

12. Try to chip bits off it. If you fiddle with an idea long enough, it may fall to pieces.

13. Make a strong personal attack on the originator. By the time he or she has recovered, the idea won't seem so important.

14. Appoint a committee to sit on the idea. As Sir Barnett Cox observed: "A committee is a cul-de-sac down which ideas are lured, then quietly strangled."

15. Drown it in cold water. As in: "We haven't got the staff to do it ...the intangible risks would be too great... that's all very well in theory, but in real life."

16. Return it to sender with: "You need to be much more specific about your proposal."

17. If all fails, encourage the originator to look for a better idea. This is usually a discouraging quest. If he or she does actually returns with one, start them looking for a better job.