How Helpful is Blue Sky Thinking?

The blue sky view. Not a cloud in sight. Perfect conditions, endless opportunity, unlimited potential.

People often formulate ideas using the “blue sky view,” a hypothetical landscape where challenges are nonexistent, success is straightforward, and every lucky break seems to go your way.

Advocates of blue sky thinking say that brainstorming in an idealized, setback-free setting allows you to focus solely on the idea, not the related obstacles or logistics. You develop the idea in a perfect, immaculate universe, and then approach the potential challenges separately.

But, even a bad idea can look good if you picture it within an idealized, utopian scenario. The blue sky view could distort your expectations and affect your judgment. Under the blue sky, a risky move can look like a safe bet.

Undeniably, the road to success will seem clearer if you wish away the obstacles. The question is: Does the blue sky view truly help you formulate viable plans, or does it leave you unprepared for the inevitable challenges of reality?

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Peter is Vice President of Digital Marketing at an investment holdings company in Washington DC and Co-Founder at True North.


  1. Great debate and insightful post.

    I think that it is wise to think of all the possible obstacles, but not get hammered with them and not be obsessed with them.

    I would rather minimize the obstacles and think of ways to eliminate them, rather than ignore them.


  2. Octavian Damiean on the 7th August

    Interesting question.

    My opinion is that going from one extreme to another is never a good idea.

    Sure you should not concentrate explicitly on the possible obstacles but neither just on the goal.

    A good balance has to be found.

  3. Roland on the 10th August

    I think it depends on which fase you are.

    At the start, I think it is best to generate as many ideas as possible. Try to find new approaches, new angles, no matter what obstacles.

    When this free-for-all initial fase is over, you start thinking about the possible obstacles and carving out the good ideas from the bad. Maybe there are more good ideas with this approach that you would not have thought of when limited by obstacles and reality. You could use different creative, maybe initially bad / unrealistic, ideas to elevate them to great ideas.

    Even a great “realistic” idea can turn into a nightmare. Because unforseen issues, well, their unforseen…

    ( pardon my English )

  4. aj on the 10th March

    I am currently researcing this topic for my assigment on e-commerance web building for my HNC and the tutor had marked that we look at blue sky thinking as a priority to tasking the senario set.

    Your welsite has been very helpful Thank you

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