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Is My Idea Any Good?

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That innovative idea that you and your team have come up with — is it any good? You'll never know unless you do this step first.

If you're a video person, I lay it all out in the video below. If reading is more your thing, skip the video and hop straight to the transcript below!

Hey there, Bill Stainton here with Turning Creativity into Money™, and today I want to ask you a question. How do you know if your innovative idea is any good?

Really.

How do you know if your innovative idea is any good?

Well, it depends on what good means.

How have you defined good? It's like asking, "Is six feet tall?" Well, it depends. For a skyscraper not so much. For a rabbit, yeah. That's, that's a pretty tall rabbit, right? So six feet in and of itself is nothing, it's just six feet. Is it good or bad? Don't know. Compared to what?

So the first thing you need to do in, to define whether or not your innovative idea is any good, is figure out what does good mean?

In other words, you and your team need to pre-define the criteria for success. What will determine whether the idea is good or not good.

Let's take an example. Let's say you and your team are tasked with, um, with a new product. Your job is to develop a new product for the marketplace, okay? So, great, you need an innovative new product.

Now you could just start tossing out ideas, but that's not going to help you much. First you need to figure out, what are the criteria for success, how will we know if this is a good, is a good idea or not.

And so what might those criteria be?

Well, it's up to you and your team. But maybe, maybe one is, okay we need to be able to have this launched in the marketplace by the end of the year. Okay, great. Uh, maybe another one is that our cost per unit can be no more than 84 dollars. Great. Maybe supply chain redundancy is important to you, so you might also have as a criteria that there must be at least two separate suppliers available for each major component of this product. Great, okay.

Whatever the criteria are for you, whether it's a product or a service, whatever it is you're trying to do with your innovation, pre-define your conditions of success, your criteria for success. That way, when you start coming up with all your ideas and, you're just free-forming ideas, you're not worried about the criteria at this point. They're there, you've predefined them, they're there waiting for you.

And then you come up with all these ideas.

And then when you look at any particular idea and you say, "Is this good or bad?" you'll have, you'll have something on which to base your decision.

So you might come up with an idea, go, "Wow, this, this idea this looks great! Oh. But there's no way we could have it launched by the end of the year." Okay is this idea good or bad? Now this idea, it's a bad idea. It might be good for another time, but for this particular innovation initiative, it's not good because it doesn't match the criteria for success. Make sense?

So step one, step one for you and your team is to define what are the criteria for success. There may be one, there may be a hundred, it's up to you. It depends on whatever this initiative, this innovative initiative is all about. But you and your team need to come up with what are the criteria for success.

That way, when you're asking yourself the question, "Is this idea any good?" you'll you'll have a basis for that question. You'll have a way to make that decision. You'll have a way to define whether this innovation, whether this idea that you and your team have come up with, is good or is not good.

You'll know whether six feet is tall or not, because you have something to measure it against.

So, again, when you're when you're trying to come up with innovative ideas with your team for any kind of situation, the first thing you need to do is define your criteria for success. That's how you're going to know if your idea is any good.

I'm Bill Stainton. I'll be back next time with more ideas on how you can Turn Creativity into Money™.

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About the Author:

29-time Emmy Award winner and Hall of Fame keynote speaker Bill Stainton, CSP is an expert on Innovation, Creativity, and Breakthrough Thinking. He helps leaders and their teams come up with innovative solutions — on demand — to their most challenging problems.
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