What’s in an idea? Lots of earnest people still think that ideas are fluffy and undefined and that it’s the execution or implementation of an idea that’s really important. This is born from a human desire to follow a process and stay within boundaries. That’s fine, but, when the day is done and a programme has been successfully implemented, who thinks back to where it all started?
The process and the outcomes are what people understandably focus on and the origins are lost in the fog of time, teams, budgets, metrics, politics and much else. Everyone claims ownership of the outcome and by association, everyone claims ownership of the origin. Of course, most great ideas are born from multiple minds, conversations and other ideas but, there has to be a spark, a first concept and, most importantly, an original reason.
At V, we think of our ideas as the catalyst, the start of a conversation, the moment of realisation. An idea could simply be the moment that a problem gets realised or a need gets exposed. The solution to the problem or need is an idea and all the parts of the implementation process are ideas too, but they are born from the catalyst, the original idea. We love it when an idea, a catalyst, leads to further ideas as the process of ideation to execution gathers momentum.
Some idea strings are linear and build chronologically as process develops, as progress builds. Others are multifaceted as an idea string leads to further ideas in other areas. We can map the spread of ideas and the resulting spread of value and progress but the reality is always the same – one original idea, catalyst, sets everything else in train.
We’ve run workshops where at the end of the session, the group has created original ideas that address the original need, but in the process of doing this, they have created further ideas in other, previously hidden areas. It’s exciting and rewarding to us and our clients. Heros have been born this way. We don’t care very much whether the idea literally came from us or not, we just pride ourselves on helping someone to have it.
Of course, we recognise that if the idea is a catalyst that leads to an implementation process involving people, teams, time, potential change, leadership advocacy and potential budget release, as well as growing enthusiasm and expectation, the idea HAS to be good. More than that, it has to be RIGHT and it has to be robust enough to stand the process of implementation and inevitable close scrutiny.
All our ideas, no matter how big and broad, have to have a viable business case. We have been responsible for many game changing and substantive ideas and we never lose sight of the responsibility we have and the consequences of having an idea.