4.10.3 Introducing concrete innovation opportunities to exploit

This phase would be the fertile ground for novel ideas to strike root and sprout. Besides organizing conditions for enabling creativity, we have to manage the concrete creative process as well:

Step 7. Prepare for something in specific and bring about innovation opportunity
We reached to a complete innovation opportunity, if we found the concrete theme (product, service, technology, project, marketing method, etc) and it is approved and supported by the management to start working on generating options.

Please stop and think: 

What do you want to progress in next? What should be the goal to achieve? Describe this goal in detail with a few words, sentences or a figure. Put it up on a board, hang it somewhere or send it out to your colleagues. Who will jump at it? Form the objectives together with those interested in your proposal. Prepare a background document dossier for those who are new in the specific topic. Send it out with an invitation. Form a proposal together, that you show to your manager.

Here are a few hints, tips to exploit:

  • According to the previous steps, you can open up the preparation period by making the knowledge-base constantly available, but it is also important to regularly assign new and concrete innovation objectives.
  • Innovation opportunities do not always come from the management. If you have done the previous step although you are not a manager, ask for a free hour from the boss and present your ideas. Talk about the current possibilities, resources and the field which could be developed. You can also offer to organize a brainstorming session1.

Step 8. Start generating options by brainstorming

If you have the possibility to brainstorm in a group, try to design it to be diverse in many aspects. If the topic is not a top secret one, you can invite experts, stakeholders or anyone who might have a good idea in relation to the subject. While brainstorming in a group, one can draw a “Mind Map” out of the mentioned ideas. For further reading, see Chapter 4.2. on Brainstorming of this Innovation guide.

If you are brainstorming alone, take time for it. Get a piece of paper and write as many ideas on it as you can think of. They do not have to be good ideas, don’t judge at this step. Now look for related articles, books, pictures, films, your previous studies, and open them up on the interesting parts. Write these parts together with the idea it gives you on the same paper. Put the paper aside and take it back times to times at different parts of the day, in different states of mind. It gives you a variety of perspectives and perhaps a richer set of ideas.

Step 9. Give time for relaxation and incubation

We need time off of struggling with a problem or issue to see it from different perspectives - pause for incubation is needed for groups and individuals as well.  
“You have probably heard the story of the efficiency expert who reported to the CEO an individual whose services were observed.

  • I found him with his feet up on his desk, staring out the window – the expert declared.
  • Young man – the CEO replied – that man has brought millions of dollars into the firm, and when he came up with his last invention, his feet were in the exact same position.”

It is a good idea to have one week off from a topic for incubation. If people know that after a week innovative solutions are formed, they are likely to come up with novel ideas after a time of relaxation.

Step 10. Form innovative solutions to implement

Moving from many options to one innovation is a substantial step of the creativity booster. The selected initiative has to be assessed and then implemented in the operation of the company.

Try to summarize the advantages and strong points of the novel ideas discussed. Agree on aspects important for implementation like in Chapter 4.2.5. Figure 3. It is not necessary to find only one idea. After selecting the seemingly best ones, see if you still have important criteria to cover. Collect new ideas that emerged in the meanwhile. Try to work on a common solution that involves the best points of the most appealing ideas.


1 For more information, see modules 2.2 SWOT analysis and 4.6 Management of innovative ideas of this Guide