When organizations talk about innovation, they are referring to generating bright ideas. They spend time thinking “out of the box” and hope to come up with a brilliant new idea. But innovation is not the Idea; it’s more than that. Innovation goes beyond bright ideas by combining processes with creative minds to breathe life into something that makes life easier, days brighter, and helps organizations get closer to their goals.
In other words, you have to do something with those bright ideas. They need to transform into something of value to your organization and customers. Do you have a process in place to do that?
Transforming Bright Ideas Into Value
Don’t think that bright ideas aren’t valuable. It’s quite the opposite. Ideation is a necessary step in the innovation process, but it’s only one step.
In the Ideate stage, you’re collecting ideas from your source community. That may be your internal employees, your external customers, or both. The goal is to get as many ideas as you can so that you can find a few nuggets to explore in depth.
However, you need to have a strategy and plan for implementing and maximizing those ideas for real innovation to happen. You’ll need to create a team that can help you determine the practicality of each idea, and evaluate the value that the idea can bring. You’ll want to define which stakeholders need to be involved in the process, and how you’ll communicate information to those who need to know.
Once you have a strategy and plan in place to evaluate and communicate your bright ideas, you’ll need to determine what resources you have available to implement new processes. It’s important to commit to an idea not just up front, but over the long term.
When creating your implementation team, be sure to look for motivated team members that represent all of the vital departments involved. Have a cross-functional team that can help you foresee and avoid potential problems, as well as support you when the changes roll out.
Finally, you’ll need to execute the new idea and evaluate its effectiveness. You can see if it measures up to the predictions or if it falls short, and how it can be tweaked to maximize impact.
Through all of these steps, you’ll need to be highly organized. Having the right tools and processes in place as you innovate is essential.
Systematizing the Process
Most business leaders realize that they need to systematize their daily operations if they want to have consistent, high-quality results. However, they don’t apply that same thinking to innovation, and it costs them a great deal of time and money in the long run.
Too many people think innovation by nature has to be spontaneous and can’t be predicted or planned. That couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, you can easily create a system that you follow for every innovation project that will help you succeed. Here’s one process:
- Ideate. Gather bright ideas from your source community, either internal staff or external contributors.
- Build a Team. Gather a team to help you evaluate the ideas and prepare them for implementation.
- Refine. Refine the most promising ideas and collect detailed information about how implementation would happen.
- Estimate. Determine the resources needed for each idea today as well as in the future.
- Review. Key stakeholders make the final decision on what idea or ideas will move forward.
- Fund. Ideas are funded and implemented.
- Archive. Details about the project are stored so that lessons can be learned for future innovation projects.
Generating bright ideas is an essential first step to innovation success. But you can’t stop there. You have to go beyond the idea and establish a solid process to evaluate and implement them. One that includes communication, organization, and commitment.
To turn bright ideas into value, you need to create a solid process that works for your organization. Download the Sample Idea Process to get started today.