Big Ideas and What Really Fuels Us To Share Them

16 Mar

When I was a young kid, my family would spend most of our summers swimming at Sprout Lake. My brother, sister and I would spend hours perfecting our somersaults, dives and jumps off of the high platform in the deep end. After each and every one, we would yell out to my mother, across the lake, basking in the sun, “Mom, did you see THAT?” “Mom, who did the best somersault?” “Mom, should I try jumping farther next time?” As young kids, we all desperately crave the validation of our parents. We want to be seen. We want to be heard. We want to know that we are on the right track, doing a great job, and that our parents are proud of us.

Well that does not change when we grow up. We still want people to be proud of us, both in our personal and professional lives. It might be kind of weird to draw the correlation to your work life as well, but you have to admit, it is kind of true, right? At work though, there are bigger justifications for it – good raises, big bonuses and the ability to ascend the corporate ladder.

So imagine belonging to an organization where you are asked for your opinion and new ideas. Envision an organization where the senior leaders carve out time of their jam packed schedules to actually listen to you. How totally awesome would that be? Wouldn’t you feel pretty darn important? Heck yes!


This past week a group of my colleagues and I were offered a chance to pitch our own ideas to the senior leadership team at Bandwidth. In a relaxed setting, with beers in hand, we each had 4 minutes to deliver our spiel while the rest of the group listened intently. I must admit, some really cool concepts were presented where lots of us commented “Wow, what a great idea!” To make the event more fun and interactive, all of us anonymously rated each idea ending in a grand prize announcement at the conclusion.

I left the session feeling proud of myself, proud of my colleagues, and really proud of my company. Could the company hail the “Big Ideas” session a success? Were there some true gems unveiled that the company might convert into dollar signs in the future? Time will tell. In any regard, each contributor walked out of the room feeling pretty darn validated. That, my friend, is the triumph.

“Hey Mom, did you see THAT?!”

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Deirdre Clarke
Deirdre Clarke

Deirdre is currently a Director of Product Management at Bandwidth in Raleigh, North Carolina. She started her career as a software developer, after graduating from Rutgers with a degree in Computer Science. Before moving to Bandwidth in 2014, she was at Motorola for 18 years where she started as a software developer and then made the leap to more of a business role in product management in 2007. In this new role, she really flourished and today still enjoys creating new software products and features to help solve problems for her customers. At Bandwidth, she spearheads new software products in the call tracking and anonymous calling arenas. In her spare time, she is a deeply involved in the Triangle TechGirlz program, helping to ignite young girls' interest in future tech careers.

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