The 4 Dynamic Stages of Collaborative Innovation – Number 4: Idea Implementation

How to bring ideas to life?

After collecting, refining and reviewing ideas, now comes the big moment; you’re ready to start implementing those ideas. This is the fun part, for most of us, where all the work pays off, and you finally see where your idea is heading and how it might change your business. But even at this late stage, there’s still a lot of room for innovation and experimentation, and you need to leave room for creativity as ideas become reality.

Getting Ideas Done

At root, idea implementation is like any other project you take on. It needs to be budgeted, tracked, reviewed, and sometimes, taken back a step as new obstacles appear. No idea fully survives contact with day-to-day business, as we all know, and it’s worth being ready for what happens when things don’t go according to plan.

Budgeting is the first step. Remember, budgets aren’t just about money, they’re also about time. Getting ideas out there often requires we step away from other responsibilities, or at least fit implementation around them. Before anything rolls out, make sure that everything is budgeted and everyone knows their costs and responsibilities.

Next, there’s tracking. Choose some specific metrics you want to see your idea perform on, so that you don’t get lost in the sea of data any project creates. Be flexible here, as you may find your goals shifting as an idea hits the road and unexpected effects unfold. Remember that many brilliant ideas start as “failures,” from penicillin to vulcanized rubber. It’s extremely unlikely your idea will stick closely to your theory, no matter how carefully you’ve followed the last three steps of innovation. So be ready to shift as it becomes clear what’s happening.

Implementation is intimidating but worth it.

Don’t hesitate to think about the long-term with your tracking, either. Especially with ideas that will change over time and as users interact with them, you’re going to need to keep a close eye on things. There should be milestones to check in for.

Finally, have a good, simple way to share data with stakeholders. Especially with complex ideas that touch many different aspects of your business, you’ll often find yourself explaining the same concepts to many different parties. So have data at your fingertips to show what’s unfolding.

Building On Ideas

It’s never effortless to successfully implement an idea, and believe it or not, this is only the beginning of yet another road. As ideas mature, you’ll find yourself returning to the beginning of this process and traveling through it again as new applications emerge, your industry changes, or you have to take a bold step and come up with something completely new.

Innovation is a never-ending cycle. Every innovation, however small, begets new innovation as technology is paired in surprising ways, as innovations become commonplace and start being used to solve entire hosts of problems. In turn, that creates new problems or renders old innovations irrelevant. But the upside of innovation is that as long as your company is innovating, it’s doing more than just making money; it’s pushing the world, even if only a small bit, forward.

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