Evolving ideas into action

Once you have an audience that is supplying your organization with ideas, how do you begin to take advantage of the group’s knowledge and insight? The ability to generate ideas is the easy part; implementing and managing these ideas is more complex. It can be done but it takes a set of tools to graduate a large volume of seemingly unrelated ideas to business value.

Innovation Complaint: We have all these good ideas, but they rarely move beyond that stage.

In our experience we have seen companies get very excited about collecting ideas. The next step in moving these ideas forward is to manage a selection process and the people who are involved. In order to enable this selection process for ideas you will need:

  • Outcome Planning: Begin with the end in mind. What is the desired outcome of the selection process? Create scenarios of what you want to happen next. For example, have a rigorous analysis done by a team of experts to rank ideas and agree on the few that will be implemented.
  • Decision Model: Have someone that will facilitate and manage the conversations, process, egos, etc. How will decisions be made? Will your company vote or have one person decide?
  • Process Flow: Begin by screening out ineligible entries first, then use multiple rounds and different teams to get to the final ideas. Know what scoring criteria or recommendations will be used to select ideas.
  • Time & Effort: The amount of time spent by each person on selection must be appropriate for the task and the sponsoring executive must personally show appreciation. By figuring out the selection process, schedule participant’s times in advanced and make the process easy.

Once you have your ideas sorted and you have a way to track these ideas, you will need a process in place in order to implement them. Tracking your process with these ideas will ensure you are getting the most from your innovation efforts and learning from your mistakes.

Innovation isn’t just a one-time event; it does take time and effort in order to build. An organization needs to have a roadmap and reachable milestones in order for an idea to really take flight.

Done right and done often the process of ideation, discovery, decision, and results will lead to a systemic culture of innovation, which we will cover in our next post.

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