Right now your competitors are coming up with ideas. And they're coming up with ideas to improve every part of their business so it becomes better than yours.
Think about it. As you read this they are probably brainstorming how to better connect with their clients, how to improve their products and services and how to streamline their systems to get a more competitive edge…over you.
To outdo them, you need to come up with better ideas than they do.
However, simply having ideas isn’t enough because you need to have ideas that are 'fit-for-purpose'. Ideas that deliver your clients what it is they actually want. Ideas that improve your internal systems and culture, ideas that improve productivity, cut waste and drive growth.
Most ideas fail because they aren't 'fit-for-purpose'. They don't solve a problem.
The challenge for most organisations is creating a culture where useful ideas endlessly flow and more importantly are implemented. You need to create an environment where coming up with 'fit-for-purpose' ideas isn't just encouraged, it's normal.
How do you do that? Here are three practical things you can do.
Give your people (and yourself) permission to think more creatively and seek out fresh and unique ideas. If your people don't feel safe putting an idea on the table without fear of ridicule or retribution then they won't. Give them permission, and support, to look for and explore ingenious ideas and solutions.
Get them seeking problems
Ideas need a place in the world so rather than throwing the emphasis on generating ideas why not shift the focus to finding gaps first and ideas second. Gaps are problems that can be found externally in the market (what do your clients want) and internally within your business (how you do things). Once you've found a gap, any ideas you have will naturally have a purpose.
Allocate thinking time
Coming up with viable business ideas isn’t just a matter of turning on and off the ‘idea’ switch when you need them. As my mentor Siimon Reynolds said to me 'one of the reasons people fail to have great ideas is they simply don't give themselves enough time to think'. So allow your team to allocate time in their daily routine to think about what can be improved and how to best improve it.