Idea generation or “Ideation” is the life-blood of any company or organization that wants to deliver exceptional value to customers and sustain growth. Companies operating in highly competitive markets are under extreme pressure to systematically identify and bring to market the best ideas for new products and services along with the identification of new markets.
Designing the Ideation Process
Designing a company-wide process that identifies opportunities in the form of new product and service features is a critical success factor and should not be left to chance. This Idea to Implementation (I2I) process needs to take into consideration 3 major sources of ideas.
- Organically Produced (Internal analysis and company-wide suggestions)
- Social Media Input
- Creative thinking from Partners and Suppliers
Many companies are challenged with identifying and managing existing product or service idea streams within the 4 walls of the company. Building a creative culture and a structured idea management process across the value chain is critical to ensuring long-term innovation. Forward thinking customers or “Power Users” are a great source of innovation. The challenge with customers is that they can’t always articulate their feelings about current products or unmet needs because they get very accustomed to dealing with the current product or service short-falls. The best strategy is to engage with your forward-thinking customers and early adopters through Social Media or User Research to discover unmet needs and brainstorm new products and features. Companies need a formal process to sift through, prototype and validate the best ideas and rapidly track and implement them.
In addition, Product Managers need to brainstorm and collaborate with larger audiences to select and validate possible solutions. The ability to quickly assemble cross-functional teams internally and with suppliers and customers is a new strategic imperative. The notion of formalizing the I2I process has come to the forefront of many organizations. Companies are now finding new ways of working that include Social Media Platforms, Formal Ideation to Implementation Repositories and Workflows and formal idea management systems.
Here are some reasons it is important to systematically seek targeted ideas through a formal I2I process include:
- The quality of ideas is directly correlated to the quantity of ideas
- A structured process provides a mechanism for discussion and building of all known possibilities
- A formal ideation process helps discover new high-potential products, markets, needs and features
- Ideation adds significant confidence and efficiency to the product development funnel
At HBSC, our Teams works with Marketing, Product Management, Customer Experience and E-Commerce Teams to:
- Map the “As Is” idea process flows (Ideation, Estimation, Requisition, Strategy and Development)
- Assess I2I business processes, operational pain points and collaboration platforms
- Write-up high-level “To Be” process flows based on best practices
- Implement and roll-out company-wide I2I business processes and systems
To this end, HBSC has helped multiple clients formalize and structure their Ideation to Implementation (I2I) process and develop a culture of creativity and innovation. The benefits of formalizing the I2I process include creation of a predictable pipeline of high quality ideas, improved organizational communications, and increased innovation leading to rapid growth. Once the I2I “To Be” processes have been rolled-out we assist in establishing metrics for tracking innovation improvements and helping organizations establish and monitor operational improvements via an I2I dashboard.
If your organization is interested in formalizing your Ideation to Implementation process, HBSC Strategic Services can help.