The Idea that Made All the Difference

It was a hot summer evening. Everybody was quite exhausted. I needed to make a decision. Is it Ashley’s idea or Hank’s? In our evaluation system, both ideas had received the same number of points. Both ideas seemed quite exciting, and both teams were quite ambitious. These ideas had survived our cumbersome incubation process, so now it was up to me.

The last three months had been quite busy for all of us. We had this “call for innovative ideas” at our company, and the theme was how to better serve our customers. We collected hundreds of ideas and were able to shorten the list to ten finalists within a month. We prepared Mock-ups and feasibility studies supported by business cases and our business mentors along the way.

Now we are the final stage. And we need to make a decision! The process and the budget have only given room for one of these two ideas. Why not be innovative about innovation? Why not be brave in our decision-making? Have you already guessed what I had decided?

And the winner was… Ashley and Hank! We decided to go bold with both ideas. Many of our committee members immediately argued that the budget would not cater to a two-idea execution. Others had said that a two-idea execution is against the company processes. Another group argued that we didn’t have enough resources, and it’s far too risky to pursue two different ideas at the same time. My simple response was:

“We must get innovative about innovation.”

There is endless value in having a rich and vibrant ecosystem. We reached out to our partners and ask them if they would support one of the ideas with initial funds, mentoring, and integration services. Guess what?They not only agreed. They were more than happy to do so.

Ashley was super happy and super excited. Her team had worked very hard make their idea happen, and now they had done it. It was finally her turn to delight our customers with a great last-mile delivery offer.

Hank and his team were also very happy, and very surprised. They, much like the rest of the team, were not expecting two winners. Nonetheless, it had been so decided. Hank’s team was very glad. They had a great idea for a large size wending machine to be placed in crowded public places to serve our customers in a safe and secure way. Now they must deliver on this great initiative.

What is the creative rhythm of your organisation?

You see that innovation is both serendipitous but also and structured. You can’t allow ideas just to float around and then evaporate into the corporate void. You need to keep track of them and select the best ones.

Good ideas don’t just arrive by watching the sunset. You have to feed the creative genius of your people. Speaking out the ideas and experimenting with them doesn’t just happen. You have to foster a culture of openness and tolerance.

You must embrace “the new.”

What to do with the new kids on the block?

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