Ideation: your foundation for new product success
potential for your business. Note that, like all parts of our model, this is a generic framework that must be adjusted and tailored to each company’s specific needs.
Generate: Identify: Explore: Select: Plan: Approve:
Generate a rich set of ideas in key areas of innovation focus Identify ideas that fit your criteria for further exploration Explore each idea’s technical, market and financial potential Select the highest potential ideas for in-depth analysis and planning Develop a comprehensive business plan and pitch decision makers / investors Secure approval and funding to proceed to commercialization
Step 1: Generate
The first step of the ideation process is to determine your key strategic areas of focus for innovation, and to generate a rich set of ideas in those areas from both internal and external sources.
Develop an innovation strategy to guide your idea generation efforts. The process begins with defining and communicating your innovation strategy for your business. Your innovation strategy includes setting your qualitative and quantitative objectives, and the broad market and technology areas of focus, for your new product development efforts. These parameters must be broad enough to allow for breakthrough, out-of–the box ideas, yet give sufficient guidance to provide coherence to your idea generation efforts and avoid wasting resources. These guidelines form part of your assessment criteria in step 2.
Generate ideas from a wide range of internal and external sources. With the rapid spread of the concept of open innovation pioneered by companies such as Proctor & Gamble and Philips, leading companies now recognize the value and importance of generating a rich mix of new product ideas from both internal and external sources. Such an approach ensures you consider a wide range of perspectives and don’t get trapped in corporate blind spots. It also helps build a culture of innovation in your organization.
Source ideas internally both top-down and bottom-up. Internal sourcing should be a combination of a top-down directive and bottom-up, experimental methods such as:
Setting up a website to promote, capture, sort and store ideas
Allocating employee time to creative thinking – companies such as Google and 3M have maintained an innovative environment by doing so
Creating brainstorming teams with distinct perspectives to shape raw ideas or explore new industries / markets
Assigning individuals and teams to examine customer, competitor and technology trends in your and related industries
Assigning teams to create alternate internally consistent future scenarios to explore options and ideas.
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