Every companies realize how paramount an idea is. Not as simple as it is called, idea is abstract in nature. Its critical point may lead companies to a moment of “fuzzy front end”, that the percentage of idea generating abundant values is as high as the percentage of its possibility harming the company.
A raw one possibly causes a dystopia in which it confuses the customers, sinks the brand, and decreases the purchase rate. Therefore, an idea should be delivered and implemented systematically with its fullest commitment. Moreover, everyone in the company must be consciously and fluently talk about it; and have a proper visualization of how it might be in the future.
Taking A Nap
Idea always lives but it may ‘sleep’. It can be caught everywhere, every time and with random unknown method. But, not every idea is suit as solutions. And, not every idea innovates.
There are numerous reasons why idea does not work. Internally, it is caused by the lack of understanding of the employee towards the problems. The feeling of ‘knowing the company’ ironically blind them to understand the real problems (Levitt). For some cases, their misunderstanding about the customers may generate mismatch idea. This leads to the confusions to decide which idea that should be prioritize and at the end fail them to meet the customers’ needs. In the most extreme cases, the ignorance towards their own company could turn the creative ideas from a triumph to a failure.
Some studies find that this relates to the creativity blocking. Even though creativity is not equal to idea but it could be a promoter of idea generator. Creativity is not genetic constructed but some people believe that they are not born with that ability. This cause the process of brainstorming might never work. As the skeptical people will not generate anything and tend to imitate what the other said. The dependency towards some parties to produce fruitful idea may lead to monotonous and uncorrespond idea for the company. Following Toubia, the best way to generate the idea is by involving all parties within the company, with notes: they understand what they have and face.
Wake It Up and Make It Work
Whatever it takes, the company should make it works. Idea is a vital core of innovation. It opens the gate for the innovation. By generating an idea means that the company has taken one movement closer to solve the problems. But by implementing it well, a company has a key to a treasure of benefits.
Raw and unstructured idea will not compensate the needs of your customer. Quality speaking, it may not fulfill the standard given by the company. Raw idea could provoke misunderstanding about what companies are and what to convey. An idea should pass sequent processes of development to be considered as ready to implement. It should be in line with the conformity and the purpose of the company. And, it should be well understood.
The perfect idea bears a path to greater innovation. Therefore, the idea is required to fulfill some standards and value. According to David Kelley and Tim Brown, an innovation is the incision between three values: viability, feasibility and desirability. As innovation is the integral form of an idea, the idea also needs to encompass all the value to make it work and useful.
The Alarm: Design Thinking
Random and unclear idea are the worst. It only generates confusion as it reckons as a concept which is fulfilled with bla-bla-bla without clear direction.
Design thinking may help you overcome this classical problem of idea fuzziness. The method is introduced by David Kelley and Tim Brown. This method re-conceptualizes the comprehension of design and thinking. Design, as what Spool said, is not a device to create something to be purposely eye-catchy or picturesque but to generate intentional completions. While Thinking is defined as the approach used in solving the problem. In design thinking people focus more on how create solutions after assorted conditions. In other word, the process of design thinking requires deeper comprehension of what could be obstacles and which is the best opportunity provided. Moreover, design-thinking applies user or customers’ perspective towards the problem. Therefore, by using the design the employee can map the possibility of needs and wants of the customers. The process itself involves the employee participation to create the most reliable solutions.
Design thinking consists of five stages of process: Empathize, Define, Idea, Prototype and Test. The idea is processed from the very beginning of Design Thinking. The entirety processes enable to transform the raw idea to be a concept that fit in the business model, the needs of customers and availability of technology.
Empathize: the process focuses on the customers or end users. This encourage employees to relates on customers. By using this approach, it may help to shed light about needs, wants and obstacle possessed by them. The process will be easier if the employees have opportunity to directly contact with the customers to delve the implicit needs or problems which are disabled to obtain along the observation process.
Define: the stage highlights on how defining the problems, especially from the perspective of the customers. This lead to the idea generation of how the problems resolved while also fulfilling the needs of the customers.
Ideate: This is the most important process in idea generation. The process requires the employee to think about the idea as much as they can. This process may involve the employees’ imagination, experience, knowledge and senses. This process is called diverge. While the further process namely Converge which is indicated to select the most feasible, reliable but impactful ideas to be processed in the next stages.
Prototype: This stage is the strength of the whole process. Idea is idea without implementation. And by entering this stage, the employees are motivated to visualize their words of idea. Besides it concretes the idea and make it measurable, this stage also provides the opportunity for the employee for own-experiencing their idea.
Test: The last step is to validate whether the idea is in accordance with the whole package of business and the purposes. The test requires objectivity from the others to collect more data and feedbacks.
So why it works?
By using design thinking the employees are encouraged to understand the problems from user perspective and how to solve it precisely. This method, therefore, requires every person in it to put the user’s shoes on to fully understand what they need, want, obstacle and how to make them experience similarly with what the companies have been designed. Therefore, the idea generated through this process will be in accordance with the needs of the company.
However, by design thinking people are motivated to be open to all possibilities and being open minded. This might be lead to the unexpected and random idea ever, but the process will not let it raw. The diverge ideas produced will be related to the priority of company purposes and this will converge those into the most prominent one.
The whole process, from empathize to test, will transform the idea to be a concrete one and ready to be implement as an innovation. Moreover, the process will take whole intention from the employee to assess, evaluate and perform the idea. This also positively impact the employee to strengthen their relation, reduce subjectivity and diminish the possibility of free riding.
Dahan, E., & Hauser, J. R. (2001). Product development – Managing a dispersed process. B. Witz & R. Wensley, eds. Handbook of Marketing. Sage Publications, New York, 179-222
Toubia, O. (2006). Idea generation, creativity, and incentives. Marketing Science, Vol. 25, No. 5, pp. 411-425
Levitt, T. (2002). Creativity is Not Enough. Harvard Business Review, as cited in https://hbr.org/2002/08/creativity-is-not-enough at 14th June 2017
Spool, J. M. (2017). Shh! Don’t Tell Them There’s No Magic in Design Thinking. as cited in https://medium.com/ux-immersion-interactions/ssh-dont-tell-them-there-s-no-magic-in-design-thinking-b95f33867656 at 14th June 2017
Thryn. (2017). Design Thinking Lessons from Our Cats. as cited in https://hackernoon.com/design-thinking-lessons-from-our-cats-9a43fd71457a at 14th June 2017