10/12/2012 02:41 pm ET

Why Your Company Needs A Full-Time, Idea-Killing Chief Dissent Officer

Big companies get a bad rap. We think of them as creativity-killing machines that constantly crush the world-changing ideas of their hardworking employees. As if such internal mechanisms don’t also save us from countless bad ideas, creative darlings, and disasters-in-the-making. In fact, in my business experience, it’s nearly too scary to contemplate how many horrible ideas almost make it out the front door.

And they would have were it not for some lone dissenter who turned the tide.

Last year, anthropologist Grant McCracken proposed the idea of a C-level executive to track trends and monitor the “deep waves of culture in America and the world” in his influential book, Chief Culture Officer. A CCO is guru of cool and new to make sure the company doesn’t fall behind. This is important, but today I think companies desperately need this and more: an internal gatekeeper against bad ideas. A Chief Dissent Officer.

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