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From ideas to action

From ideas to action

In every business organization, hundreds of ideas are generated every day, ranging from creative solutions to everyday problems to revolutionary new products and services. What if innovation were principally a question of personal discipline?

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Most ideas never get implemented. Indeed, many companies fall short of their goals when they design programs to boost the organization’s capacity to innovate.  
Observing the mediocre output of many innovation and continuous improvement projects, companies often try to boost creativity by encouraging people to generate more ideas in general, and more original ideas in particular. However, innovation experts point out that raw creativity is far from the main issue at hand. The real challenge lies in knowing how to transform these ideas into concrete action.

“Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration,” said Thomas Edison. And that is precisely where the problem occurs. Indeed, don’t customer-facing employees commonly come up with intuitive ideas to adapt the offering more closely to customer needs? How many process improvement ideas are quickly pushed aside  in order to address other priorities? How many pending innovation projects are kept in mind, but never see the light of day?

Indeed, everyday operational concerns tend to keep new ideas dormant. This is not for lack of motivation; the root of the difficulty often lies in methodology. Much more than creativity, perseverance is what is lacking to bring new ideas to fruition.

To avoid this pitfall, the publications we have analyzed propose three essential disciplines:
-Focus on action. Otherwise, it is very tempting to come up with more ideas without knowing where to set priorities.
-Drastically filter ideas. An overabundance of ideas scatters energy and attention and hence becomes an obstacle to innovation.
-Move forward collectively. Many ideas die prematurely because they are developed in isolation.

Synthèse n°213a

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