The world thrives on great ideas. Its great ideas that bring us great innovation, great products and great inventions. We are hard-wired to solve problems, be creative, and innovate. We do it every day; sometimes knowingly, sometimes not.
But how do you make great ideas happen? Sometimes we get so stuck in the ‘hamster wheel’ of life, we can’t ‘see the wood for the trees’.
Its really important that as individuals and organisations, we create a system and culture of ideation, creativity and problem solving. Here is 7 tips:
1. Have an ideation process
Have a process for creating and capturing ideas in every department. Encourage regular brainstorming. Ideas forums. Chat forums. Constantly look at what you’re doing, why you’re doing it and how could you improve it. Get user and customer feedback, consider a feedback system for your customers if you are selling products or services. Ideas are everywhere, you just need to dig for them sometimes!
2. Don't overwork the whirlwind
This is a killer, but one we are all guilty off. It’s back to that quote “can’t see the wood for the trees”. Don’t get caught in the trap of “busy just being busy” but take time out at regular intervals to look at what you are doing and review. Even physically getting out of your usual environment can help you to see things differently, and minimise distractions ie. hold an offsite brainstorming or strategy meeting.
3. Organise your ideas into actionable chunks
Once you have discovered ideas for development or innovation, you need to organize into an plan. It’s good to look at ideas and plot them on a 4 quadrant map with ‘Cost’ on one axis, and ‘Difficulty’ on the other. You can then organise the ideas into the 4 quadrants, as per the diagram below:
4. Production before perfection
Once you have settled on the ideas you are going to pursue, make a start to action them right away. You don’t need to look for perfection when you are testing a new concept, because the trial itself will product and refine results! If you can roll the idea out to a small ‘pilot group’ to begin with, and explain the concept, they will be happy to trial and give feedback!
5. Meaningful meetings
Keeping on track with your testing and development will require regular catch up meetings. The key thing is to make the meetings meaningful. Always start with an agenda and and a clear purpose. The key point of meetings are to create a series of action points. Stay on topic!
6. Fight through 'motivation lag'.
Okay, so now its been a few weeks since you kicked off your project. What seemed like a brilliant idea a few weeks ago, now feels like drudgery! Doubts have come in, maybe some negative feedback and the team are feeling dejected! Its really important to hold review or retrospective meetings to pulse check for progress, and iron out any concerns or things that aren’t working! Keep the idea ball rolling, keep reviewing, keep improving and stay positive! Remember; your most negative feedback can hold the key to your biggest opportunity!
7. Stick with it!
Don’t bin that idea just yet, you gotta stick with the plan! There is a fine balance between flogging something for too long, and just long enough to give enough evidence as to viability. Whilst you need to fail-test-fast, you also need a certain amount of grit to stay with your plan long enough to fully test every angle. Stick with it until you can look yourself in the mirror, hand on heart, and confess ‘I can do no more with this one’.
About Laurie McMullan and Myndflo
Laurie founded Myndflo.com in November 2017 with a vision to help people and teams make big ideas happen. We are doing this by designing simple products and systems that make collaboration and communication simple and fun!
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