Ideas Need to Meet These Four Criteria for Implementation
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Arthur VanGundy, in his new book, Getting to Innovation: How Asking the Right Questions Generates the Great Ideas Your Company Needs, says that many companies have a problem with problem definition. They make assumptions and rush into generating ideas before clearly defining the problem or challenge at hand. As a result, much manpower and many ideas go to waste.

Arthur VanGundy, in his new book, Getting to Innovation: How Asking the Right Questions Generates the Great Ideas Your Company Needs, says that many companies have a problem with problem definition. They make assumptions and rush into generating ideas before clearly defining the problem or challenge at hand. As a result, much manpower and many ideas go to waste.

“The very best ideas to the most poorly defined problem might as well not even exist. Anyone can have an exciting brainstorming session with hundreds of ideas. Frequently neglected, however, is devoting as much time and attention to clearly defining a ‘presented’ challenge as is given to idea generation. As famed photographer Ansel Adams said, ‘There is nothing worse than a brilliant image of a fuzzy concept.’

What happens at a lot of brainstorming sessions is that ideas are tossed out that do not seem to make sense. The reason is not always that they are bad ideas; rather, the ideas different people think of may be based on varying assumptions as to what the ‘real’ challenge is.”

What’s the solution? The team needs to create a clear-cut challenge question and clearly frame the problem or challenge. The frame defines what’s inside the boundaries of the challenge (what we ought to focus on), and what’s outside (what we ought to ignore). Effectively framing innovation challenges is the focus of this book.

What VanGundy is implying is that we bring a bit of innovation to the brainstorming process. Don’t just conduct brainstorming sessions “the way we’ve always done them.” As we can see, that approach can, at worst, lead the company down the wrong path or at least waste a lot of people’s time – and get them frustrated because their ideas aren’t being used.

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