“Lay an Egg and Make Chicken Soup
The Holistic Innovation Process from Concept to Market Expansion”
by Arie Brish
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach to running a business needs to be replaced by ‘What’s next and how do we get there?” If you’re not thinking that way, rest assured competitors are. Once they’ve introduced ‘new’, you’ll be at least a step-behind and it will be difficult to maintain your customer base.
To stay ahead, an innovation mindset must become part of the organization’s DNA from top to bottom. Why? Senior management doesn’t have a monopoly on great ideas. People in the trenches offer insights that management doesn’t have.
How do you engage employees in ideation? Brish leans on the brain-writing and brain-walking techniques of Bryan Mattimore, which unlike brainstorming, ensures the involvement of every person on a diverse team.
Both start with a creative challenge that’s based upon input from employees, customers, other stakeholders, what’s happening in other industries, etc. In brain writing, each team member has a clean sheet of paper to list an idea ‘egg’. The papers are passed sequentially to others to build on the idea until it returns to the initiator. The team goes through the ideas to see which ‘eggs’ hold the most promise. In brain walking, blank sheets of flip-chart paper taped to walls are used.
The critical question: “Which egg will produce the best chicken?” Brish’s three rules for selection: 1. It fills a market need and identifies the total market. 2. ROI must be considered in making choices. 3. The devil is in the details (e.g. barriers to entry, resource availability, scalability, customer aversion to change, customer support plan, etc.).
Takeaway: Brish’s case studies show how small and large companies practice ideation innovation.
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