Genius is 1% Inspiration, 99% Perspiration.
This is what Thomas Edison said about a century ago. We have libraries full of books talking about that 1%, with great examples like The Innovator’s Dilemma (Clayton Christensen), Blue Ocean Strategy (Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne), The Medici Effect (Frans Johansson) and many more. But what about the other 99% of the process?
Although that 1% is full of fantastic stories about geniuses that fill us with inspiration and change the world, the remaining 99% is what really turned these magnificent ideas into reality; It’s the part of the process that includes designing, building, developing techniques, marketing, competing, etc. Because we all have spectacular ideas every day, they abound, but the art and science of management is what differentiates the ideas that die in the shower from those that change history.
That’s why Edison also said, “Most people lose opportunities because these are dressed in overalls and smell like work.” At The Ideas Factory overalls are mandatory and an aroma of ideas being created and executed permeates the atmosphere.
The Creative Process
The famous “brainstorming” is a very useful and fun process, however, once this load of creativity has been downloaded from the heads and embodied in some easy way to share with the whole team, it’s necessary to activate the ideas management process in order to convert them into actionable, measurable strategy that can evolve and be repeated.
1. Establish a Problem/Need and Solve It
Any idea that you are going to put into practice has to solve a problem or supply a real need, for real people, in real situations and in the real world.
To be able to do this effectively, it’s necessary to go through a thorough research process. The digital world offers a giant gate by which you can collect and analyze any type of “data” so that your ideas have a firm base.
Start with the information you already have within your company, business plan, or database of current, past, potential, and perfect clients. Then closely analyze all available information about your competition and the market or industry where your idea has to flourish. And do not forget to conduct surveys, interviews, measurements and others, to gather relevant information about your audience, target audience, or perfect client.
Remember that it’s them who have that problem or need that you want to solve.
2. Think and Share. Strategically.
The term “Design Thinking” has undoubtedly gained popularity. But what is it? Before delving into this topic, it’s worth remembering that ideation is easy, implementation is not so easy. This requires great amounts of tenacity, guts, patience, money, time and a bit of luck.
It is therefore important to share your idea with a mentor, make a demonstration, tell your friends, family and anyone who wants to hear, to get valuable comments, contributions and criticism, because, no doubt, someone will open your eyes at an angle that you had not yet considered, a feature that did not seem important to you, or a marketing angle that you might have overlooked.
3. Design Thinking, More than a Trend
The Design Thinking process seeks above all to understand the user, challenge the assumptions and redefine the problems in an attempt to identify strategies and alternative solutions that may not be immediately evident with our initial level of understanding.
At the same time, it seeks to be a practical way to focus on solving problems through the use of practical, replicable methods.
One of the fundamental bases of Design Thinking is a deep interest in understanding the people for whom that solution or service is being designed. Therefore, it’s vital to develop and nurture a healthy level of empathy with the target user.
The phases of this process are:
- Empathize – with your users.
- Define – the needs of your users, their problem and your ideas.
- Idea – challenging assumptions and creating ideas for innovative solutions
- Prototyping – to start creating solutions.
- Test – the solutions.
This process does not always follow the same order or have a hierarchy to follow. Remember that you must face this path in an innovative way and breaking schemes.
4. Measure, Repeat, Evolve.
Perfection is an unattainable dream, an impossible goal. But excellence is available to everyone, and it is a process that is constantly evolving and changing. Once that wonderful idea went through the entire creative process, design, and execution, it’s time to measure the results to repeat them to be successful, learn from them if it was a failure, and evolve on the way to the next great idea.
During the process of designing and implementing your idea, you should have determined what would be the optimal results and the indicators to follow to measure the performance of each of the aspects of the project.
These key performance indicators vary depending on your product or service, your target audience or customer, your industry, and each of the factors that are part of the landscape that is your company. The information collected through these indicators must be organized, analyzed, and shared to learn and take into account so that the next project has better results.
However, beyond this information, it’s necessary to resort to tools of analysis of small data to collect those small traces that your target audience is leaving in all their interactions with your brand and that reveal the intimacy of their behavior, allow to unravel cultural desires, individual and collective dreams, and are the small pieces of puzzles that reveal who they are and what they want.
At The Ideas Factory, we go through such a ritual with each client to generate results, which in the end is what really adds up. Tell us what ideas you have, what results you dream of generating, and let’s share a cup of coffee, chat, generate ideas, and let us take care of that 99%.