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3 Ways To Make Your Big Ideas Real

Guest Post by Iain Montgomery

Guest Post by Iain Montgomery

We all have great ideas. I bet everyone reading this has had a spark of genius in the last week during a meeting, driving the kids to school or while singing in the shower. The problem is, making ideas happen is really hard, especially if you work for a large company.

New ideas are often inherently risky because they haven’t been done before and we don’t know how they will turn out. Corporations are designed to maximize profit and minimize risk, with systems and processes that left to their own devices will kill great ideas.

Allow me provide an example, Kodak were well aware of digital camera technology but chose to ignore it as they already had an established business based around film. Developing digital cameras would have put the core business at risk so they deprioritized it. The rest is history.

So how can we make our new ideas happen? Well it’s about communicating them, building confidence in them and not being too protective. Here’s my 3 tips for how to make your ideas have a big impact in your organization.

1. Bring your idea to life.

An idea written on a Post-It note or in your head is all well and good, but it doesn’t do the idea justice. Explaining your idea verbally or in writing will often not communicate it as well as a visual representation. You need others to understand it the same way you do.

Try to create a concept advertisement for your idea. If you had a billboard or magazine page to tell customers about your idea, what would it look like? You don’t need to be a designer to do this, sketch it out yourself and then find someone in the marketing or advertising team to bring it to life. Alternatively, if your idea is for a digital experience, mock it up using an application like POP.

2. Iterate, often.

After you’ve sketched out your idea, keep sketching. Try to create 5 different ways your concept could be articulated. Once you have a few options, find some people who you think your idea would be perfect for and go test it with them. If you have an idea for a new hotel concept, speak with 5 people you know who travel often and get them to tell you what they think over a coffee.

3. Don’t be afraid to share.

If you have an idea for your company, don’t be afraid to share it with a team. Working together with an open mindset is likely to help your idea improve as others co-create it with you. Create a rule where people need to build on your idea by saying ‘yes, and’ not ‘yes, but’. If people are constructive in their critique, ideas flourish. If they are negative, it’s hard for them to survive.

All the best examples of corporate innovation come from this mindset. Kimberly Clark encourage their teams to tap ‘thought leaders’ from outside the organization, think academics, experts from other companies or startups in a similar space.

In my own role at Market Gravity supporting big companies, I will often host co-creation sessions where customers are invited in to build on the initial ideas we may have created. I’d love to know how you make your big ideas real. Are there challenges you’ve faced. Can you offer others some of your top tips? Comment below.


About Contributing Writer:

Iain Montgomery is an Engagement Manager & Innovation Consultant for Market Gravity, an agency specializing in insight, proposition design and rapid prototyping. Iain has helped to design breakthrough new propositions for the some of the UK, US & Canada’s biggest businesses. In his spare time Iain is a true ‘wantrepreneur’, seeking the ideal start-up or can be found exploring some of the world’s more obscure travel destinations. He can be followed on Twitter or LinkedIn

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