Timing, as we know, can be everything. With new ideas and innovation, timing is king. We have all walked down the street and seen something on sale or a new business that just opened and thought to ourselves, “damn, I thought of doing that!” It is a little known fact, that long before Starbucks or Costa took over our highstreets here in the UK, Warburtons actually started its own coffee shops, but they were just too early and unfortunately folded the venture before the market need arrived. If you think about it, and apologies to readers outside the UK who may not know “the nation’s favourite baker”, this was actually a really great brand extension and ought to have worked amazingly. Freshly baked pastries and breads with a freshly brewed coffee. Timing was just not right.
New ideas are not in short supply. In this and other forums, I have frequently built on the truism that ideas are cheap, with the observation, that whilst ideas may not be in short supply, we have no idea how many ideas we have as organisations, no metrics around them, no processes to measure them, yet we all freely admit they are the lifeblood of the way we do business.
In other aspect of our business lives we have become much more adept at measuring and developing KPIs and have widely adopted software to facilitate this (Saleforce CRM, Marketo for marketing automation etc etc.). Yet in innovation this is still lagging. It is a pretty huge gap in the organisational armory if you think about it. Ideas are our lifeblood, yet we have no mechanism to manage or measure them…..can that be right?