Every company starts with an idea. Some are inspired, others are more functional, but often no less valuable to the business.
Whenever there's an economic downturn the same discourse - that the world's incapable of the creativity needed for recovery - rears its head. Almost inevitably, however, a wave of innovation, supported by new technologies, hits us.
The ideation process still remains fraught with challenges for companies. More often than not, companies approach the process in one of two ways; they either reject ideas that don't create value, or as Matthew Ganz, VP and General Manager of Research and Technology at Boeing states, embrace them 'as a way to prime the pump'.
Here are some things to think about when perfecting your ideation process.
Most knowledge is tacit
The main reason open, collaborative environments have been championed is to transform tacit knowledge to explicit knowledge. When a company loses an experienced member of staff, it's their knowledge of culture and implicit structures within the company that they miss the most.
While the cliché of someone getting in the 'zone' normally takes place in the shower or a secluded place, companies need to encourage people to share ideas in an open arena so that everyone is on the same wave length. The best ideas are often linked to company culture, so it's important that new hires, in particular, know how to frame ideas to their colleagues.
Ideation needs structure
Creativity and structure aren't always words you would associate with one another, but for an ideation process to work efficiently, a plan is essential.
A structure should be in place that makes sure ideas are being developed on a consistent basis so that the company is never standing still. More often than not, this involves a process of layering, where ideas are enriched to add depth. For this to be successful, however, there should be time between discussions so that developed ideas can be stripped apart and restructured if necessary.
Setting makes a difference
A number of companies - including Google and Coca-Cola - have attempted to create stimulating environments to inspire their workers. In 2011, for example, Coca-Cola hired MoneySmith to design the interior for its office in London. This runs deeper than just creating open spaces to work. Companies must do all they can to ensure that their workers are operating in environments where they feel comfortable. This is especially important as health and wellbeing are closely linked to positive ideation.
Ideas don't always need to add value
Many companies are now accepting failure as part of the innovation process, and with good reason. Organizations learn from the mistakes they make, and findings can be used for future ideation activities. As mentioned before, they can also act as the catalyst for more suitable ideas.