Lights! Camera! Action!

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Innovation, at its core, is a 3-step process. The problem is that most people only focus on the first of these—which is not even the most important step!

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 talk to you about the three stages of innovation.

Yeah, that's right—three stages. See, most people think there's just one stage of innovation. You just, you come up with ideas, right? That's innovation.


That's only the first stage—and it's not even the most important one.

So, to talk about these, I want to go back into my history a little bit. Some of you may know this. For 15 years, I was a TV producer, so I worked, I worked in the field of television and movies—showbiz! And in showbiz, you've probably heard the saying: Lights! Camera! Action!, right? Lights! Camera! Action!

Well, those, really, if you think about it, that's kind of the three stages of innovation. Let's break it down.


When you think of lights, what do you think of? Light bulbs. That's the ideas. That's the stage when you come with lots and lots of ideas. You don't, you don't judge them yet, but you just come up with lots of ideas. That's the lights stage. Lights. When you think, Lights!, think light bulbs, light bulb ideas.

Once you have those ideas, you move to stage two: Camera!

What does a camera do? A camera focuses, right? This is when you focus—from all those ideas—you focus in on the one, or two, or maybe three that are going to move the needle, that are going to create value. So Lights! is all about ideation—coming up with ideas. Camera! is all about evaluation—focusing on those one, or two, or three ideas that are going to move the needle. That are going to make a big difference. That have the most value and the most potential.

And then you move on to the third stage: Lights! Camera! Action!

Action is all about implementation. So we've had ideation, evaluation, implementation. And this is actually the most important stage. Because until you actually start implementing some of those ideas, you've got nothing that's going to create any value. You know, you've got ideas, and you've evaluated them, but until you actually put them into action, there's nothing that's going to create any value.

That's why I call this Turning Creativity—there we go—Turning Creativity into Money™. The creativity part is stage, stage one and two—Lights! Camera!

The money part is Action!, implementation—taking those ideas, figuring out which ones are really going to move the needle, and then coming up with a plan, coming up with a blueprint to turn those into action.

Now all three of these stages can be taught. I mean, I do it in my workshops, and my keynotes, and my labs, and things like that, but they all have to work together.

So when you're trying to come up within with an innovative, innovative plan, uh, an innovative procedure for your team, some sort of innovative idea that you can bring to the marketplace, be sure that you think about all three of those stages: Lights! Camera! Action!

Lights, you're coming up with lots of ideas. And here's a tip: most of them are going to suck. That's, that's not the point. The point is coming up with lots and lots and lots of ideas because you never know which one is going to be the gold. That's what you determine when you get to the camera stage—you focus in, and there are techniques for doing that. Focusing in on what's going to be the most valuable. And then step three—the most valuable of the steps, the most important of the steps—finding a blueprint, building that blueprint to put it into action, to implement those ideas.

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

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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