YOU are in your car driving to work on a bright, sunny morning, when it suddenly hits you. Not the car that has been tailgating you for the last mile, but a great idea.

It could be the next Google. Or a completely new market for your product. Or simply a quicker or cheaper way to do your work.

You rush to your workplace and meet a colleague in the corridor. You describe your great idea to him.

Without a second's thought, he says: "Oh, we did that two years ago. It didn't work."

Your killer idea has just met an idea killer.

How to kill an idea

Idea killer phrases are negative comments that people make without thinking when they first hear an idea. Here are 10 of the most common ones:

* "The accountants will never buy it."

* "Compliance won't allow it."

* "Company X has already done it."

* "That's really stupid."

* "We don't operate like that."

* "The bosses will hate it."

* "Give me a few weeks and I'll get back to you."

* "Let's set up a committee to investigate it."

* "Maybe in a couple of years from now."

* "It just won't work."

Give it a chance to grow

Ideas, especially great ones, are fragile. They need passion, openness and nurturing to flourish.

The next time someone comes up to you and tells you his great idea, here is what you should do:

* Take 30 seconds to think why it would work.

* Question your assumptions.

* Think of all the positive aspects of the idea.

* Imagine how it could work.

* Then, and only then, give him your feedback.

You will be amazed at the difference this will make.

When you give an idea a moment's thought, you give yourself the time to see all the possibilities and the potential while avoiding all the negative pitfalls.

Of course, you can always critique the idea later, but only after you have looked at all the positive aspects.

This way, you may find the seed - the little germ of an idea that can blossom into immense profits for your company.