Master Ideation With This Checklist
The creative process is rarely linear. With this checklist you can add a little bit of structure to the creative chaos in order to turn creativity into value.
1. Pick a strategic initiative and define a challenge within the initiative you want input on.
2.Find a sponsor for the campaign, preferably someone with high credibility in the organization and resources to move promising ideas forward.
3. Define the campaign with a title and description. Depending on how you write the campaign you will get different input. Broad or narrow, specific or fluffy, long or short text. There is no right answer, try to be as clear as possible on the type of input you’re looking for.
4. Set a time window for how long the campaign will be open. It can be 24 hours or several months depending on the campaign.
5. Decide which groups to invite (employees, customers, partners etc) and communicate to invited groups why they’re invited, what the challenge is about and how to contribute.
6. Monitor progress – are people active and excited or do you just hear crickets chirping? If you can hear the sound of silence try to understand why. Do people not undertand how to contribute? Or is the challenge unclear? Are people afraid to submit “bad” ideas?
7. Close the campaign when you’re happy with the input and cluster the ideas in themes, arranging by interesting patterns or common denominators. Give feedback to ideators on the progress of their ideas. This is very important!
8. Prioritize the clusters based on pre-defined criteria (for example impact and feasibility) and connect hypotheses to the ideas in order to test them. What assumptions do you have about your idea? Does it fill a need for someone? Will people pay for it? Does the organization have the credibility to commercialize it? How will it be developed?
9. Update ideators on what clusters and hypotheses their ideas belong to. If possible maybe even invite them in certain steps.
10. Take decisions on which hypotheses to test and how to test them. Which are most important to verify for the idea to fly? You don’t want to end up in the Museum of Failure so make sure you do this 🙂
11. Give feedback to ideators on how the experiments went. What hypotheses were verified, not verified and which ones need further testing.
12. Decide how to move forward when experiments have been conducted: move a cluster of ideas to development, park the cluster, or continue testing to learn more before making a decision.
13. Give feedback to ideators on what happened to their ideas in step 12.
14. Celebrate the learnings you gained from the parked ideas and the promising future for the ideas moved to further development.
15. Start over with step 1 or jump back to step 3 to collect new input based on what you learned or jump to step 7 to re-cluster due to new insights or jump to step 10 to write new hypotheses or ….
You are never done with innovation. The world will keep changing. Organizations that manage to stay successful over time master exploring new opportunities in parallell with executing the core business. Balance is key.
Happy Ideation Champions!
Part of this blog post was Co-authored with Peet Van Biljon and originally posted in Innovation Leaders magazine Pointers June Edition (https://www.innovationleader.com/pointers/)