The most overwhelming stage of any innovation process can be the very beginning. The road from your raw idea to a finished product can appear long and prone to zombie attacks (okay, fine: “middle manager” attacks). If you’re lucky, you’ll have institutional support in the form of company resources and supportive management. If you’re less lucky? It can be hard to know where to begin.
Innovation has been our theme throughout the month and in sewing together our blog posts with that particular thread we have explored many of the individual steps of a great innovation process in depth.
Today we’re bringing it all together, showing you how to go from raw idea to fully realized vision.
Phase 1: Brainstorming
Naturally, an idea itself is the starting point of any innovation process. This month we’ve shown you not only how to use collaboration to formulate better ideas, but also the unique creative power of pairs. The key to powerful idea generation is to create an environment in which members of your organization feel safe to take risks.
The boldest ideas may not be the ones that make it through to production but they can be the catalyst for the idea. It’s fine to say ‘no’ with a good reason – people expect that not all ideas will fit into or alongside other business considerations – but nobody should ever be cut down or belittled for daring to float something a little left of center. That’s a surefire way to kill your innovation process dead.
Phase 2: Germination
If you thought coming up with a novel idea was hard, just wait until you have to bring that idea to life!
Germination is the stage of the innovation process where it helps to employ a design thinking process like the one we laid out this month. Design thinking will help you to embrace failure and create a product that offers real value to the end user. It’s a different method of tackling complex problems that will enable you to uncover linkages between the problem you’re trying to solve and the context in which your end users encounter that problem.
You’ll fail many times throughout the germination phase of the innovation process. You’re probably not thinking boldly enough if you nail it on the first try, so failure is rather necessary and should be built into your process. Prototype and test, then prototype and test, and then prototype and test. When you cease to fail, you will have created something truly valuable.
Phase 3: Production
When you know you have a winner on your hands, it’s time to bring it to market. If you’re meeting your end users where they are facing a unique and complex problem, you might be solving a problem that they didn’t even know they had. Going to market, then, might require further innovation still.
Production and distribution processes are themselves ripe for innovation, as we’ve seen with the rise of the sharing economy. To this end, it would be worth your while to stay on top of emerging trends in innovation by keeping an eye on our six favorite innovation blogs. In the way that riffing off of bold ideas in the brainstorming phase leads to breakthroughs, seeing what others are up (and the manner in which they’re up to it) to could spark your imagination.
Managing your innovation process
Communication is absolutely critical to the success of any innovation process and there’s just no tool quite like Blrt for keeping ideas moving forward. Consider our hypothetical but adorable Project Wombat.
The first step was a raw idea that Alex records in a Blrt and sends along to the social team:
The social team has a look and begins to riff on the raw idea. Blrt makes it easy for them to reply and begin speaking over the same media Alex had originally shared:
Alex takes the feedback on board and revises the original vision. Collaboration, then, leads to a breakthrough and the social team is able to approve and assign the next action:
Alex sees the assignment and refines the Blrt. It shows as red in the conversation because Alex has made the Blrt public, meaning anybody can share it with decision-makers within or without the organization:
Alex’s original but raw idea has now gone through revisions with other members of the team (who may or may not be in the same physical location or even time zone) and has been refined into presentable form – all in the same Blrt conversation.
Get your great idea off the ground in the same way:
Blrt helps you get your point across quickly by allowing you to talk, point and draw over images, documents and websites. The resulting video-like recording is called a Blrt.
Your Blrts require much less bandwidth than video and can be shared with anyone on mobile or desktop. This makes Blrt ideal for both collaboration and the creation and sharing of dynamic content, as public Blrts can be embedded into any webpage.
Once recorded, Blrts are stored in the cloud and are exchanged with others in a conversation-like fashion. A record is kept of the exchange, and new parties and media can be added at any time.
Blrt shifts time and place, allowing users in a conversation to participate in their own time. In an era where activity-based working and distributed teams are commonplace, Blrt is revolutionising the way people interact to get things done.