From the first idea to the final product, it is a long process – one could say it is a whole journey. The collection and evaluation of ideas is an important step. But that is not the end of the story. Once you have found an idea, the real work begins. The idea has to be implemented, tested, and validated.
An idea usually has a long way to go before it becomes a fully implemented product or project. In our two-part series on the Idea Journey, we explain how this process can be created as smoothly as possible. The first part focuses on ideation and evaluation of ideas. The second part is about the steps that follow: the first implementation, the validation, and the transfer of the implemented idea into the daily business.
“After all, an idea doesn’t implement itself.”
Even before you start with the actual implementation, you should think about a few things: Who will implement the idea? Are there other people who should be involved? Are there colleagues who would like to be kept up to date?
There are very different ways to answer all these questions, and they all influence the Idea Journey.
Who implements? One option is the idea generators. This can be one person or a group of people. Idea generators are likely to be particularly motivated about the idea and would implement it with passion. But it may be necessary to release the employees from their everyday tasks for this purpose. After all, an idea does not get implemented incidentally. Another option is to contact the department that is technically responsible for the area to which the idea belongs. Ideally, the specialist department already knows about the idea through the evaluation process and is enthusiastic about its implementation. Perhaps the idea generator and the specialist department can also work together on the implementation.
Are all important stakeholders already involved? Now is the right time to catch up if not everyone is on board yet, even if it is just to inform colleagues about the project.
Who wants to be kept up to date? Of course, for every project, there are the classic stakeholders who would like to be informed. But maybe there are more? For example, if there was a vote by employees during the evaluation phase, they will certainly want to know how what is happening with the idea they voted for. Using idea tracking, all interested colleagues can follow what is currently happening around the selected idea.
Implement and test
Once all these questions have been answered, implementation can begin. In larger companies, this often happens in an incubator. This means that the idea generators are released from their traditional tasks for a fixed period of time and work together with mentors to implement their idea. The idea is to work iteratively, i.e., in small loops, and to repeatedly question whether the path taken is the right one. Depending on the development of the idea, it makes sense to test various intermediate development steps with potential users. These tests can be implemented with the help of prototypes, for example. In this way, feedback is regularly generated and incorporated, and each stage of implementation is backed up with good arguments.
It is also important to involve all relevant stakeholders during implementation – either via idea tracking or even as participants in the tests. This way, the business department, for example, is involved during the whole process and backs the result. This can have a positive impact on the next step: validation.
Top or flop
Once the idea’s implementation has reached an agreed stage – this can be an MVP, a finished product, or even a business model – it must be evaluated. The core of this evaluation is whether the implemented idea can and will work in the daily business of the company or not. In this second evaluation, different stakeholders can again be involved in the decision. These could be experts from the specialist department, budget managers, or higher management positions. The decision for or against the idea can also be made with the help of dimensions, as was the case with the evaluation in the first part of the Idea Journey.
Once a decision has been made, it can also be recorded in Idea Tracking. The keyword here is transparency: All stakeholders are informed about the reasons why the decision was made in favor of or against the idea. In addition, it is still possible to track what happened and was decided around the idea in the future.
If the idea has been successfully implemented and has passed validation, it is transferred to daily business. Since the relevant specialist department or experts were informed about the idea and its progress right from the start – and in the best case scenario were also involved – the handover works without any problems. After all, nothing would be as unfortunate as a fully developed idea that is rejected by the specialist department.
But with this Idea Journey, a great deal of transparency throughout the process, regular tests of the individual work steps, and early collaboration between all those involved, nothing stands in the way of great, implemented ideas.