The best ideas in businesses can come from a variety of places. Business magazines everywhere are advising CEOs and others to look beyond their own board rooms and HIPPOS to find ideas among their employees, and it makes sense. But is having an open corporate culture all it takes to harness ideas?
A structured approach toward unleashing creativity and sustaining the idea through planning and development stages is part of it. We’ve outlined below six steps which give you a rough outline to harnessing and embracing innovation within your companies:
1. Define, target, and clarify. Begin innovative projects with momentum and a sense of urgency so that ideas aren’t shelved or forgotten within all of the mess and hubbub of daily life. Attract attention from your top managers and encourage everyone to think outside of the box when examining and reviewing new ideas.
2. Predict the needs of your customers. Obviously your newest ideas will be put to the test out in the market, but a preliminary examination of what your customers may or may not like about a new product or idea is essential to the process. You can choose to form target groups from company people or outsiders who are regular users of a similar project. Or, if you already have users, select a few to beta test your new ideas.
3. Learn from past experiences. Research your industry and external factors that can and do affect the success of your new product or idea. It’s always necessary to ensure that you’ve gathered all of the basic information you need to ensure success. The more thorough the research, the more transparent the next steps of the product development strategy become.
4. Immediate feedback. The voice of the customer is the first thing an innovation manager has to hear and successful companies seek and respond to feedback on their product and it’s features immediately after releasing it out on the market. This approach allows quick reaction, error correction, and a vision for future developments.
5. Relate the product to your brand. Keep in mind how the product relates to your brand, as the success of a company’s last product can define the company behind it. The product’s impact on the brand should always be taken into consideration as you will examine it as you create future products that will have their own brands.
6. Continuous innovation. Success can be seen as a starting point or a springboard for more ideas. Look at your successes and see how you can innovate based on those. Consider your budget and determine what you’re willing to spare for innovation. Generating new ideas and implementing them doesn’t have to necessarily be costly.
Idea software can help companies manage create processes and streamline their steps towards innovation. It offers an easy to use platform to share amongst employees to initiate challenges and contribute ideas and suggestions related to solutions.
If you’re new to idea management and the culture of innovation, our ebook: Guide To Idea Management For Business.is a great starting point.