We’ve all heard it at some point and many of us have been guilty of talking about it. Being over-encumbered with great ideas that never seem to get off the ground. It’s something that echoes across all departments and amongst employees. Often it can become a major source of frustration. So, what can be done to capture these innovative ideas, evaluate them and convert them into organisational improvements?
1. Identify Internal Champions
Choose your audience wisely. Which group is most likely to become an early adopter of your innovation programme? Focus on collaboration, recognition for effort and involvement. Your internal audience will grow, and with time your recruitment of innovators will become far easier and more natural.
2. Find a Solvable Problem (the best kind of problem)
Identify an organisational challenge that is visible to various employees. Focus on something that will allow you to deliver a relatively Quick Win. Showing that innovation can thrive in your workplace will set a precedent for your organisation going forward; success early on is key.
3. Broadcast Your Activity
Make the progression of innovation visible to all. This will help validate your team’s efforts, and provide crucial proof of concept to the rest of the organisation. Communicate across internal networks and further afield. This can facilitate the generation of further ideas from outside your innovation cohort. Make your achievements known.
4. To Make Informed Decisions You Need Reliable Information
Numbers and Data are your close allies. By focussing on data, you will be able to estimate the size of your organisational challenge whilst calculating the potential effort and investment involved. Thereafter you can measure the benefits and Return on Investment (ROI). Information and data will also establish credibility amongst your potential audience, who could range from managers to investors.
5. Take Your Time (Don’t Take Too Much)
When you have successfully established momentum into your innovation programme, it’s essential to maintain this. Be ambitious with your launch. Put dates in the diary and commit to them. Prove to yourself and the rest of your stakeholders that innovation doesn’t impact on agility. In fact, some of your ideation will focus on improvements that make your organisation more efficient and agile. Set suitable processes and systems as the foundation to build your creative concepts upon.
Be prepared for challenging statements from those who have yet to buy into innovation. Imagine those who raise concerns as potential collaborators rather than detractors. Scrutiny is a sign of success; you’ve caught their attention, now deliver the information that matters most to them - time, money, support, prestige and so on. Find the right currency for each person who engages and you will find a way for innovation to deliver more of what they value most.