In our previous post we stressed the value of small ideas: they contribute to continuous improvement and their collision, expansion and maturing ultimately build big ideas. But what does a “big idea” actually mean and how does it reach the stage of a “big idea”? Big ideas are the ones that trigger disruptive innovation and spark real shifts. They are socially, economically, technologically or environmentally beneficial and provide real solutions to problems. We know that most big ideas are the result of small ideas which have connected and have blossomed into bigger ones.
Let’s take a closer look at the concept of big ideas. The different strategic goals you wish to reach with your idea management programme vary. If you are developing new products and services then you will probably need to generate, capture, review and implement big ideas rather than small ones. Most organisations, however, have the same ultimate goal: they want to innovate more and faster. They want to uncover the best big ideas and implement them rapidly. Generating and implementing great ideas ensures sustainable growth and competitive advantage in an increasingly fierce innovation race.
Surprisingly, over the last century a lot of great ideas were rejected when they were first pitched: Let’s take Xerox, who invented the PC interface but then failed to see its potential or Kodak who actually invented the digital camera but again did not believe in its true potential! In both cases these businesses let others develop a product that they had initially invented (See David Burkus’s – author of the Myths of Creativity – Feb 2013 Ted talk – Why Great Ideas Get Rejected). When these ideas were presented they may not have been sufficiently reviewed and developed beforehand or their audience may not have been properly immersed in a real innovation culture and were not prepared for such disruptive change. Or the ideas may not have incubated long enough. David Burkus says that an idea needs to satisfy two main qualities in order to be “great”: it has to be new and it has to be useful – and often it is difficult to reconcile both.
Remember to be audacious in the ideas you generate. It is important to continuously expand and develop ideas to improve them. Build around your ideas, have them reviewed and have decision makers, colleagues and a broader community interact with them. And when a big idea is finally implemented, it doesn’t mean that you stop improving and expanding it.
We hope that you will be successful in your implementation. If you wish to learn more about idea management and our idea management software have a look at our resources page.