Most people have heard about it but only some are familiar with the concept of Idea Realization. Every now and then someone comes up with an idea that seems worthwhile pursuing. This particular idea might be it. A ticket to freedom and another life. Yes, in general people believe that a good idea can make you a fortune, as it did for some. Sadly on an individual level, most ideas never get realized.
What about the many great ideas floating around in companies, locked up in people’s heads or even written down waiting to be materialized. There is a huge potential and power in the collective intelligence of people.
However, in many organizations, amazing ideas with large potential are living in people’s heads. But they need to become tangible first to be taken through a process to test them and guide them into existence if they pass the test. The challenge is to select the best ones, improve and implement them and evaluate the benefits. Now that is Idea Realization in a nutshell.
A lot of companies are not aware of the treasures they have in the form of ideas or if they do esteem these ideas they often do not know how to find the gold, so to speak. It is similar and as exciting as a treasure hunt; the gold is there but it is hidden. We need to start out on a journey to find it. Just like in the movies however we do need a map as well. Once the map and the steps are clear it is not that difficult and mysterious anymore to find the treasure.
Why should we pursue ideas and set up a process to catch, select and take the effort to realize them? Ideas are treasures worthwhile to be found or caught. One good idea or more can make all the difference to a company, it’s success, its growth. Actually Idea Realization is a way of creating new or improved services and products, sustainable cost savings and process improvements. Capitalizing on an idea is a serious matter but overlooked still. Many ideas die an early dead or even worse never get born.
Companies, leaders, managers who are interested in realizing ideas often do not know how to go about it exactly. They do not have the specific knowledge, right resources, tools or even mindset in place tot do it. They know about making profit, keeping the budget which are tangible.
There are stumble blocks on the road to Idea Realization:
Once the above hurdles are taken we come to the most important reason why companies are unable to capitalize on the existing ideas within their company. They actually do not know how to catch an idea, run with it and unlock its potential. We will take you through 6 steps to give an overview and clarify the process of this treasure hunt in modern times.
Set up an Idea Realization program.
Ideas have something magic like an unborn baby but to get them born a system or environment needs to be set in place otherwise they will not survive after birth.
The idea belongs to your company and your employees. Therefore alignment of the Idea Realization Program with company values, purposes, and strategic objectives are crucial. If not we will quickly turn the idea into an orphan.
Ideas tend to increase engagement within the company and makes employees proud as long as they are involved in the process. So launch the program to all participants.
Create a platform to collect existing ideas or inspire people to think of new ideas (idea campaign). Use different tools to facilitate the idea generation process. Think of live brainstorm sessions, open up a web portal for ideas. Engage and involve participants in this process by lowering the threshold as much as possible. Make it an enjoyable process that will inspire people to join in.
Once ideas are collected they will have to go through a process of test and trial. Which ideas have the best chance to survive and become successful? Which ones fit the company best etc. Ideas are like rough diamonds and we do not always see immediately the diamond characteristics through the mud. A refining, washing process needs to take place. The ideas now need to be enhanced, formed, improved.
After we roughly took the ideas that we thought most fitting and put them through a process of enhancement and improvement we come to the fourth step. Final selection of ideas. We can only work with so many ideas at once so we need to select and prioritize the idea we want to work on. Then built a business case around the idea we picked.
Put people in place to start the implementing process of the approved ideas. For instance a team for managing the process and a team for delivery to support the participants within the company with the implementation. Crucial is that all are involved and all are engaged. Everybody working together on a basis of equality.
Measure the results and evaluate processes. If you leave this step out you will not be able to build on lessons learned. Experience and lessons learned will make the next time even better and increase engagement even more. More engagement stimulates more ideas. It is a circle that will keep producing once we all flow with it.
Although we translate the whole process of idea realization in 6 simple steps, it is not a one-off effort. It takes much more to create a culture of continuous improvement and innovation. This process will need to be integrated into the day to day activities and will be the foundation on which you as a company and employees can create sustainable value together.
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