For three weeks, the innovation team worked hard on a project. They identified the key insights to unlock the issue. They generated great ideas and selected one that was sure to be a success. They were so excited that they decided to present it immediately to the Chief Marketing Officer. The CMO's response was: “How much will it cost, what is the expected pay-off, and what are the risks?”
The team members had not anticipated the questions and were not ready to answer them. This was despite the fact that the CMO always asked the same questions when new ideas were presented. The CMO's impression was that the team had not done a thorough job. As a result, they had to go back, assess the cost, the pay-off, and the risk. By the time they proposed the idea again, most of their excitement had worn off.
When they reflected on what had happened, they recognized that the CMO's questions were totally predictable. They had just failed to factor them into their process.
This situation is, unfortunately, all too common. It is a typical application of analytical intelligence. The team found the right question. They found the only possible answer—now they had to “just do it.”
This is when leaders need to stop the strong instinct to “just do it” and follow the last step in the successful resolution of the original problem, Step 4: Implementation Planning. Innovation is successful only when a solution is implemented successfully, not when an idea ...