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Giving and Receiving Intense Criticism and Feedback

Do you want to create something that stands out from the crowd? If so, embracing intense criticism is essential for your success. Intense criticism can help refine ideas, provide valuable feedback, promote collaboration, and encourage creative thinking.

Phil McKinney
Phil McKinney
3 min read
Team working together around a table giving each other feedback on their ideas.
Criticism and Feedback Are An Important Innovation And Creativity Tool 

Criticism has always been associated with failure and rejection. However, for successful innovators, criticism is the key to their success. Subjecting one's ideas to intense criticism may seem counterintuitive, but it is essential in creating innovative solutions. And as innovators, inventors, leaders, and executives, we all know that ideas are crucial for any breakthrough. So, if we want to turn our ideas into innovations, we need to learn to embrace intense criticism.

Why Is Intense Criticism Important?

So why is constructive intense criticism a critical part of the innovation process?

1 - Helps Refine the Idea

Every great idea begins a little rough around the edges and needs some polishing. Criticism can help shape and distill these ideas. For example, when Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone, it was met with skepticism and criticism from those who believed the device was just a fancy phone. But Jobs welcomed the criticism and used it to refine the iPhone further. Today, the iPhone is one of the most successful gadgets ever invented.

2 - Vital Source of Feedback

It provides an outside perspective on our ideas and exposes us to alternative viewpoints. This feedback helps us identify the weaknesses in our ideas, and we can improve on them. Even expert innovators like Thomas Edison valued criticism because it helped him discover new insights he would not have discovered on his own.

3 - Promotes Collaboration

When different perspectives come together, they create a synergy that allows ideas to grow beyond what individual minds can achieve. It also helps us to identify potential pitfalls that one person on the team may miss. By working collaboratively, we can develop more robust and versatile solutions.

4 - Encourages Thinking Creatively

The criticism often challenges us to think outside of our comfort zone and explore new solutions. It forces us to consider new ideas and perspectives that may have never crossed our minds. By exploring different perspectives, we can develop cutting-edge solutions that were not possible before.

"Subject your ideas to the most intense critical analysis possible."  ~Jordan Peterson

Giving Intense Criticism and Feedback

Giving constructive criticism and feedback on someone’s idea can be difficult. It requires tact, diplomacy, and an open mind. The goal is to provide meaningful guidance that will help the individual refine their ideas without making them feel attacked or discouraged.

When giving intense criticism and feedback, it is important to focus on the positive aspects of the idea before pointing out any flaws. This helps create an environment where people are more likely to listen and accept your input. Additionally, avoiding being overly critical or judgmental in your comments is essential, as this can lead to defensiveness from the person receiving the critique. Instead, try offering suggestions for improvement while also emphasizing what makes the idea unique or valuable. For example, you could say, “I think this concept has potential, but I have some ideas about how you could improve it,” instead of simply stating, “This isn't good enough."

Providing specific examples when delivering intense criticism and feedback is essential to avoid confusion about what needs improving. Be sure to tell why something should change and how it should be changed. Offer concrete solutions rather than vague statements. Finally, it is essential to remain professional and respectful when giving intense criticism and feedback, as this will make the suggestions more likely to be accepted and implemented.


Intense criticism is never easy to receive, but it is essential for success in innovation. It strengthens our ideas, provides feedback, promotes collaboration, and forces us to think creatively. As innovators, we cannot afford to shy away from criticism. We can learn to embrace it by understanding that it is essential to create groundbreaking solutions. So, let us all welcome intense criticism, knowing it is the key to unlocking our full creative potential.

critical thinkingCriticismcreative tool

Phil McKinney Twitter

Phil McKinney is an innovator, podcaster, author, and speaker. He is the retired CTO of HP. Phil's book, Beyond The Obvious, shares his expertise and lessons learned on innovation and creativity.


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