The Murder Board

Most creative companies have what Jim Lavoie, CEO of Rite-Solutions, calls the Murder Board. This is a committee that judges the viability of ideas brought to the company. Mr. Lavoie coined the title at a former company because, while the members thought they were assessing ideas fairly, they were actually killing ideas by making sure the company took no risks. 

It goes something like this in the media business.  

A camera guy comes in with an idea. The team asks “What’s the demographic?” or “What’s the market?” The camera guy – who knows nothing of markets and demos – doesn’t know the answer and the idea is shot down. What then happens is that people begin to figure out the committee’s process and learn the answers that the committee wants to hear (sometimes making it up). The result is the best presenters are selected rather than the best idea. 
One of my clients came up with an innovative idea to address this problem. Any staff member who wants to pitch an idea is given the company’s demographics, marketing plan, and after-market plans. A member of the selection team is then available to help prepare the pitch to the entire committee, essentially giving the committee member a vested interest in the pitch. 
The interesting thing is that about the same percentage of ideas are accepted, but they are brought by a more diverse group and they are accepted for the right reasons. 
– T.D. Boss

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