A successful innovation process will require a continuous flow of innovative ideas. Without these innovative ideas, the process cannot start to do the job for the purpose because it exists in your company.
So, you need as much innovative ideas as possible if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur.
But I have seen many entrepreneurs full of different innovative ideas, but they don’t do anything to capitalize on them. So, there are three important questions when we talk about innovation ideas:
- Where are the greatest innovation ideas?
- What to do when you have innovative ideas?
- What next do you need to do when you collect innovation ideas?
Here, I will try to answer these frequently asked questions about your innovation ideas. So, stay tuned…
Where are the greatest innovation ideas?
You cannot find a person who doesn’t want as much as possible innovation ideas. On the other side, because ideas are free, everyone has ideas in their head. Some of them will be implemented. But many of them will stay in the heads of the persons who possess them and be forgotten.
There are two general places where you can find innovative ideas:
- Innovation ideas that come from inside yourself. You will always have different new ideas that can be potential innovation ideas. What do you think? What do you see? How do you feel? What do you hear? Also, what are you doing? What are your pains and frustrations? Answering all these questions can bring you possible innovative ideas for your small business.
- Innovation ideas that come from outside yourself. The second place where you can look for innovative ideas is outside yourself. Your employees, family, friends, neighbors, customers, and competitors can be great sources of innovative ideas. This is your closest environment. Also, there can be other sources of innovative ideas as other companies, science, technology, and trends.
What to do when you have innovative ideas?
You will need a database where you will record all ideas. In such a way, they will be ready for future steps of the innovation process in your company. The question is, what can you use for this purpose?
Often, the best tool as a database for your innovation ideas will depend on the idea itself and from where it will come into the database. You can use free or low-cost tools that can play the role of innovation ideas pool in your company.
- DayOne App. It is a great tool to record all important things happening on your private and business day. The answers to the questions related to your thinking, seeing, feeling, hearing, pains, frustration, and what you are doing are great to be recorded in your daily diary.
- Evernote. I explain how to use Evernote for innovation purposes in my previous post. This tool is great to record and collect all your innovative ideas. It is a great place not only for your ideas but also for your team members. In such a way, you will have great innovation ideas pool inside your company.
- Google Drive, iWorks, or MS Word. Also, you can use Google Drive or any other applications based on cloud technology. Using these tools, you can write your ideas from everywhere.
- DevonThink. You can use DevonThink as a knowledge base and an information manager to keep your documents, notes, and other things organized and accessible. Its artificial intelligence allows you to manage your files.
- Papers 3. The Papers app is your personal library of research. In Papers, you can collect the research and scientific materials useful for your innovation efforts. You can tag and search for all these materials whenever you need them.
There are many other tools that you can use for this purpose, but these several often will be enough for your small business.
What next do you need to do about collected innovation ideas?
So, you have innovation ideas pool full of ideas. But ideas aren’t innovation. You must put them in place if you want innovation from your ideas. The first thing that you will need to do is to select one or several collected ideas that will be implemented.
This means that you will need to rank them and choose only the best ones. Which ideas are the best ones? Here are several questions that will help you in this process:
1. Do you have enough knowledge, skills, experience, or passion for the specific innovation idea?
If the answer is yes, you can continue to check the idea with the next criteria. But, if the answer is no, then you will need to go back into your innovation ideas pool to choose another idea for the implementation.
2. Is the return on investment acceptable to you?
Each idea will need some type of investment, such as money, time, and effort. You need to check each idea according to the return on investments, and if it is acceptable, you can continue with the next question. If RoI is not acceptable, you will need to go back into your innovation ideas pool to choose another idea for the implementation.
3. Is the time required for the implementation of the idea acceptable?
This is an important question because you will want to implement ideas that will require the shortest possible time for implementation. In such a way, you will be sure that innovation work in your company will bring as quickly as possible additional revenues. If the required time is too long, you will need to go back into your innovation ideas pool to choose another idea for the implementation. Otherwise, you can continue with the next question.
4. Is the required finances and resources acceptable?
If you don’t have enough finances and resources required to implement the innovation idea, it is better to postpone the implementation process. But, if you already have the required finances and other resources, then you can continue with the last question in this process.
5. Is the risk level for the innovation idea acceptable?
How much risk are you ready to take? Each innovation will contain some levels of risk, so assess the risk and discover if you are ready to take it.
When you go through all the questions and all the answers are acceptable, you can continue with the implementation of the innovation process. In such a way, you are sure that your innovative ideas will be implemented and they will bring the most to your company as quickly as possible.