Learn English – What does it mean: think “table” and not “kill”


The following is from Designing for Growth: A Design Thinking Toolkit for Managers:

Ultimately, learning launches need to result in decisions. If you have tested key assumptions, you should also be able to make concrete decisions about if and how to move ahead with the growth project. If you decide not to move ahead, think “table” and not “kill.” Chances are, if a concept is strong enough to get to the learning launch stage, its problems may be temporary. Times change and so do enabling technologies, customer readiness, and so forth.

What does the expression, think “table” and not “kill”, mean?

Best Answer

To "table" an idea, in American English at least, is to delay or postpone an idea that has been presented and not necessarily reject it outright.

In British English, it's used in a rather opposite manner: to put an idea forward to be discussed. From the OED:

table something (British English) to present something formally for discussion

table something (North American English) to leave an idea, a proposal, etc. to be discussed at a later date

I'd say to "kill" seems very final; the subject is no longer up for discussion under any circumstances.

Edit: The OP has updated the question with the actual context for his question. The quote comes from the book 'Designing for Growth' published by Columbia Business School, which is an American school.

With that in mind, it's clear that the quote is using the American English verb "table"; it is saying not to reject ideas outright ("kill"), but to temporarily put them aside for further consideration in the future ("table").