Struggling to make your ideas a reality?
Getting an idea off the ground can be a difficult process, especially if you need to go through endless layers of management to get your voice heard. In this article we’ll be sharing some top tips for both the idea originator and business owners, which will help you ensure the ideas that can really help your organisation have a better chance of getting off the ground.
It’s all in the pitch
Have you ever shared a brilliant business idea, which you’ve been buzzing about for days, to your manager only for it to fall flat on its face. You were expecting scenes of wild celebrations, balloons and ticker tape to fall from the sky, and a high five from your boss but instead received a raised eyebrow and an awkward silence.
You know the idea is great and just what the business needs but the reaction was lukewarm at best. The issue was not the idea but how it was presented.
Some of the best ideas in history have had exactly the same reaction. It is natural for people to be uncertain of something that breaks the status quo.
Big and bold new ideas always create uncertainty which makes us uncomfortable. When presenting your idea try to reduce the uncertainty that could be perceived around it. Connect the idea to other familiar ideas such as previously successful projects so the idea becomes more practical and desirable. Bring up points that you know the audience will agree with and then lead into your idea.
Create a foundation or a platform to present your idea on. Refer to company and industry statistics, previous learning’s, and case studies. Think of it as material that will strengthen your argument even though you know the idea should stand on its own because your audience may not see your vision.
Are you a business owner that encourages new ideas?
As a business owner it is important to ask yourself whether you have created an environment that promotes new ideas and creativity. New ideas are vital to help a business overcome problems, explore new opportunities, and grow its services/products. However, it is not enough to simply create this environment, it is vital that you’ve a strong process in place to ensure that the ideas that could be real gems will become a reality.
“Mounting evidence shows that we all possess an inherent bias against creativity.” David Burkus, Professor of Management at Oral Roberts University
As the quote above from David Burkus states, we all have an inherent bias against creativity. More and more studies show that whilst many of us say we desire creativity we hold a stronger desire for certainty and structure. When that certainty is challenged we put up our armour and often reject this new idea. Next time one of your employees approaches you with an idea that sounds crazy try to view it with an open mind which can see the best way to maximise the certainty of the idea.
You need to encourage bravery within your organisation so that all your employees feel empowered to share their ideas. You need to bring out the creativity in your staff, create a culture of creativity, and embrace risk.
The 70/20/10 investment principles
Coca-cola is one of the world’s leading organisations in embracing ideas and pushing new boundaries, particularly in online marketing. The brand employs a 70/20/10 investment principle for content development that has helped ensure a constant wave of fresh new ideas are consistently being tried and tested.
The concept is simple yet effective and goes like this:
70% of your resources (time and money) is spent on your low risk, bread and butter, content such as your usual marketing activities, blog posts, advertising etc.
20% of your resources spent on innovating off of what works. Which ideas are working well and how can we innovate off them. Is a particular blog topic performing better than others? Is a certain marketing activity working well? Perhaps you’ve seen that customer testimonials are helping drive sales? Whatever is working well from your bread and butter content is the stuff that can now be innovated on. For example could you turn those customer reviews into a Review Site which is a hub for your customer feedback?
10% of your resources spent on high risk, brand new ideas. These are the really big and bold ideas that have a big chance of success but also failure. The important point to make around these ideas is that you must declare the learning intent upfront and be prepared to fail.
These are the ideas that could become tomorrow’s 70% but if they fail it is not a reason to declare that you’ll never try another creative idea it is an opportunity to learn from that failure – which is often far more valuable to an organisation in the long run.
“Groundbreaking innovators generate and execute far more ideas.” —Frans Johansson
An idea is a fragile thing and all the promise, excitement and hope around it can vanish quickly when it is not shared to the world in a way that justifies its genius or listened to with an unbiased ear. So whether you are the idea originator or person being pitched at, remember that the ideas that will really drive your business forward are often rare and unpolished but unless you are willing to treat each idea with the importance they deserves then you may never find a gem.
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