Not all innovative ideas convert to success. In fact, the vast majority of innovative ideas do not succeed. So when converting an idea into reality, are there some key processes within the innovation program that can help to secure higher success rates? Turns out that innovation is indeed a series of processes that can be thought of as the 7 stages of innovation.
Stage 1 – Generate Ideas
The ability to solicit and capture ideas from as wide a net as possible within and outside the organization from employees, customers, suppliers, etc. is fundamental to the success of any innovation program. Creating incentives to share ideas contributes to the richness of the conversation and the quality of the ideas.
Stage 2 – Find Champions
Ideas that are selected need champions to implement. The seeds of innovation need committed farmers for cultivation and growth. The champions might be a team within the organization, perhaps an early-adopter customer who takes the idea forward. A team is always better than just a lone individual pushing the idea.
Stage 3 – Build a Model
This might be a business model or a business plan. The team discusses and reviews target audience for idea adoption, key features, activities and implementation issues. The team also discusses financial and other resources needed for taking the idea forward. All of this constitutes a first iteration of an idea model. It is possible at this stage that there are multiple models for the selected ideas.
Stage 4 – Evaluate in the Real World
This is where the idea models go in front of sector or industry professionals, potential early adopters and the “crowd”. The more the diversity of opinion and the more inputs there are, the better the quality and accuracy of the feedback. The aggregate market is never wrong is the principle at play here and this is what helps to bridge the gap between your opinion and market reality.
Stage 5 – Filter Against Objectives
With all the data gathered, the idea models can now be assessed according to various criteria such as production cost, unit cost, marketability, feasibility, profitability, etc. A failure to assess ideas against business objectives is one reason why so many innovative ideas fail.
Stage 6 – Get the Resources
Allocating the right resources in terms of initial funding, working capital and skilled resource to convert the idea to reality is what is required in this stage. An inability to attract such resources whether from external sources such as investors/financial institutions or from internal sources is often the cause for the idea or venture to fail even before it gets going.
Stage 7 – Do the Marketing
Marketing the completed idea whether through a market launch event, advertising, using idea advocates within your customer base, etc. is the all-important stage that provides a springboard for success and velocity of adoption.