An idea is just an idea until it’s shared. Could be brilliant, could be a dud, but the only way to find out whether your idea will stick is to place it gently in the hands of those that could benefit.
There are many ways to innovate: high tech, low tech, and no tech. No matter how you approach this, rapid deployment, feedback, and adoption or retirement makes for a healthy innovation process.
We looked at Where Do Your Ideas Come From earlier in this series. Perhaps the first step in sharing is listening. Hearing from your colleagues how they could create more happy customers. Every business needs more of these.
If you are the originator, I expect there’s a chain of stakeholders that you’l need to recruit—your boss, your colleagues, your CFO (funding, baby!), and your customer—every organization needs some level of check and balance. Just realize that until you have customer feedback, it’s all pie in the sky. If customers don’t see the benefit, you probably have better ideas to be working on.
Sure, sometimes the customer doesn’t know what they want. Henry Ford and Steve Jobs are known for creating whole new markets by not following. If you have deep enough pockets to stubbornly persist in the face a customer rejection, your name may be added to that list.
More likely, the quicker you get the idea into the customer’s hands the better—the best innovators excel at this. (Technology may well afford the quickest means of distribution and feedback, but that’s a conversation for later in this series.)
Sharing ideas is the first step—next up, we’ll assess How Well You Act on Your Ideas … after you’ve paused to reflect on your sharing…
Who contributes to the ideas in your organization?
Cast your mind back over the next year or two for examples to help you answer these questions:
Who proposes new ideas? Do you have an effective Suggestions Box?
Who approves them for action? Is every idea consciously assessed? How many fall through the cracks?
Who collaborates to act on the approved ideas?
Most importantly, who validates? What does your customer say?