When I first got involved in the innovation process, I was frustrated that it took so long to get new ideas off the ground.
This led me to explore how other companies and organizations were innovating, and what steps were being taken to accelerate the process of bringing new products or services to market.
I discovered some common themes in these successful innovators’ approaches.
The innovation process can be streamlined
Innovation is not a one-time event. It is a process that repeats over and again, with each cycle creating new ideas, new ways of implementing those ideas.
The entire innovation cycle itself becoming more efficient through continuous learning. In order to make the most out of this process, you need to be able to think creatively while also strategizing in a structured manner—to develop both your creativity muscles as well as your strategic thinking muscle.
When validating ideas, make sure to test them with potential customers.
The next step is to test your ideas with potential customers. Make sure to do this outside of your circle of friends, family and colleagues. You want to hear how they think the product will be useful and what they don’t like about it.
It can be tempting to only ask people you know, but if you want honest feedback, try asking people who aren’t part of your network. Their answers will help you make decisions about whether or not it’s worth pursuing with that idea or rework it.
To make sure that you get honest opinions about your idea you might want to consider offering your test group a compensation for giving their valuable time to test your idea!
In my experience, ‘validating’ your ideas is a key milestone for innovators who want to achieve success for their companies.
By validating your ideas you’ll be able to focus on what matters most; the features, functions or benefits that will make your product special and desirable in the marketplace. And by validating them with prospective customers, you can test if there’s any demand for it at all – which means you’re less likely to waste time and money building something nobody wants.
Focus on ideation and creation
The innovation process is a cycle of iterations and adaptations. It’s not an event, but rather a process that consists of many smaller steps.
One of these steps is ideation—the creation of new ideas. When you’re trying to come up with something new, it can be difficult to stay focused on the task at hand. The more ideas you generate, the better your chances are that one will be good enough for further development.
You don’t need to worry about how your idea will be received by others until later in the innovation process (when you’ve got good ones). So don’t spend too much time worrying about whether or not people will like what you have to say; just get those ideas out there!
Execute on ideas quickly and get feedback
- Make sure you’re testing your ideas with the right people.
- Test your ideas with a minimum viable product (MVP). Your MVP is a very basic version of your idea, created to test how customers react to it.
- Test your ideas with the right data. Analytics, surveys and other methods can help you get more information about what’s working and what isn’t.
- Measure results as objectively as possible—and look at the whole picture.* Use metrics that are specific to your business so they’re meaningful for everyone involved in making decisions based on them.
- Focus on results rather than activities; this way you’ll be able to tell if there are changes happening over time instead of just looking at numbers from one point in time.
- Get feedback from customers who have already purchased products related to their needs—not just those who haven’t bought anything yet