How do you develop really good ideas? The answer to that is simply. Develop a lot of them. Most new ideas will fail. Only a few will succeed. How to you come up with really good ideas? Come up with a lot of ideas. Since it is recognized that most new ideas will fail you have to create an environment that allows for failure. Now saying you have allow for failure is easy. Living it is hard. But the fact is failure is not tolerated. And you are punished for failure. Stockholders will not accept failure.
So how do you fail and end up with a success? Start by looking at the data. Since we know most new ideas will fail. First thing to do is generate a lot of ideas. The more ideas you generate the higher the probability you will generate one that will succeed. The chances of finding a successful idea is better when you are looking are 200 than if all you have to look at is 20. Once you have generated the ideas you have to evaluate them. I do not know any organization with unlimited budget undergo a full on evaluationÂ 200 new ideas. every month.Â Â You need a methodology to identify the good ideas and eliminate the bad ones. Fortunately, a methodology has beenÂ developed, tested, and proven. The agile development used in software development.
Software developers faced the problem of trying to deliver software projects on time, on budget and with the functionality promised. They almost always failed. It reached to point that no one ever believed estimates given by the developer. The developers would point out how the specifications for the project were different at the end then they were at the beginning. Generally there was a constant finger pointing war going on. Then agile projects were created. This is where the project was divided into very small deliveries and each delivery had to provide value to the customer. The project team provided small pieces to evaluate, test and use. Now the customer has a view inside the project and a chance to provide feedback and change course if needed.
The same project can be used in developing innovation projects. Divide the development into small incremental deliveries. Most innovation project are high risk. You do not know it they will succeed or not. And most will not. So you want to terminate the work as soon as possible on this projects that do not show promise and reassign the resourcesÂ to those who do show potential or at least more potential. Using a methodology base on the agile model you get to evaluate early and often limiting the amount of resources spent on those ideas that will not work out.