Once an idea is born, it has a long way to go before it can reach the point of implementation. Many things can get in the way of burgeoning ideas – naysayers, lack of resources, and bad management among others. Even with a creative team of masterful idea generators, if you don’t take the time to safeguard these fledgeling concepts, they won’t ever get anywhere. You have to create a culture that fosters new ideas, and works diligently to see them through.
Scott Kirsner suggests a few tips to help new ideas get off the ground.
6 Tips for Safeguarding Great Ideas
- Talk to Your People – Odds are, the people in your company who are the best at coming up with innovative ideas will be the best people to turn to when there’s a gap between idea generation and development. One of the most common roadblocks to getting great ideas off the ground tends to be that the higher executive levels are the last ones to buy in to the innovative concept. If that’s the case for you, some restructuring may need to be in the plan.
- Use Consultancy or Skunkworks – There are two possible approaches which are proven to help ideas take hold. The first is the creation of an internal consultancy who you can turn to for objective opinions on which opportunities your team should take on. The second approach, which Kirsner calls the “skunkworks,” is a way to develop ideas along their own distribution channels, separate from business units. Skunkworks need extra flexibility and resources to get their ideas out in the market.
- Get External Support – Although it might be tempting to hold new ideas close to the company’s chest before they’re fully ready, this has been the death of many great ideas. If you let an innovative idea out on a short leash, getting external support will be much easier, because when it is finally ready the buyers will be eager to get their hands on it.
- Make Resources Available – For ideas to go from the generation to the implementation phase, they need an influx of capital. Unfortunately, many companies don’t have the organizational foresight to make this capital accessible to their Innovation MVP’s. For ideas to become more than ideas, there needs to be a process for getting them the resources they need.
- Reward Buy-In – For venture capitalists to invest in a new idea, they need to be convinced that something will actually come of their investment if the idea succeeds, and that nothing terrible will happen if the idea doesn’t. The idea doesn’t have to be the next Apple, it just needs to be valuable enough to convince those who have the resources.
- Think Faster- Innovation doesn’t happen at the rate of those who came before, and quarterly updates are simply not fast enough. Weekly innovation meetings and brainstorming needs to occur to make sure processes are optimized and that you’re staying on top of new idea development.
Read more from Harvard Business Review
Effective idea generation and development has as much to do with the culture of an organization as the people who work for it. Adjusting processes to create a safe place for new ideas to grow and blossom will help your company stay ahead in the rapidly changing modern market.
What are some strategies you use to bolster new ideas and encourage innovation?