Chapter 10 Using ideas

Once you have harvested ideas from your staff, what do you do with them? You need a structured process that enables you to find the good ideas that will help your business, and then you need to implement those ideas.

When organisations get excited about innovation and run an innovation campaign encouraging everyone to submit ideas, they often don't pay enough attention to the back end. If 112 ideas to improve the business are submitted, what is going to happen to them? Who has responsibility for assessing those ideas and taking the good ones further? What criteria will they use to determine which ideas should be developed further? How many of the 112 ideas will be further developed? How will that further development occur? What will the budget be?

Even big companies with lots of resources struggle with this. They run a campaign, rack up all these ideas, and then give them all to Greg to do whatever comes next. No one has thought about how long it will take Greg to go through all those ideas, and he is already busy, so he doesn't quite get around to it, and then after a couple of months someone asks, ‘Hey Greg, what happened to all those ideas from the innovation campaign?' and Greg says, ‘Oh yeah, um … yeah, I'm going to get to them soon'.

Meanwhile each of the 112 people who went to the trouble of pitching their ideas is wondering why they never heard anything back, and why none of the ideas submitted seem to have gone anywhere. And they begin to wonder ...

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