4 top tips for big idea success

Everyone has had one of those ideas. It’s great. It’s big. And it can change the way that your business works...

You’re ready to take it to the next level.

But the pit of your stomach lurches. It’s a bit big… too big… Definitely too big to jump right in?

You’ve put a lot of thought into it, you’re convinced it’s a winning idea, but you need something else before you’re willing to commit a significant investment of time and money.

The big projects, the ones that are excellent ideas but ‘a bit new’ are the ones that often take a little more to get going, because:

  1. You’ve got a set of people that are happy with the old way of working
  2. You’ve got an FD who wants reassurance before signing a big cheque
  3. All the main players have mixed ideas about the best way for it to work
  4. You’ve got some politics at play that means it’s hard to navigate internally
  5. You think it’ll work but you don’t know for sure

All valid hurdles to overcome. All need approaching from a different angle. All enough to deter the faint hearted.

But why should a great idea with the potential to really change your business become too scary to embark upon? Why can’t everyone embrace the opportunity and see the possibilities? Why does it have to be all or nothing?

Dip a toe into the pool of maybe

At Waterstons, we don’t think it has to be... because maybe that idea will help boost your customer satisfaction levels? Maybe the solution will resolve that really thorny technical problem? Maybe this project is the one your organisation has been waiting for?

Maybe it isn’t… for some yet to be discovered reason. But in those overly cited words of Albert Einstein:

''Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.''

So, we’ve pulled together 4 top tips to set yourself up for success for testing out those big ideas.

1. Get out of the office
Take your people to an off-site location, suitable for focused, collaborative working and most importantly away from the distractions of the office. A fresh, new environment is great for fuelling creativity and productive working. Get those out of offices on and ask the team to commit to emergency calls only. Take care of lunch and regular refreshment breaks and beware of the post lunch slump – a brisk walk and talk meeting outside is an easy way to get everyone’s blood pumping and brains back in action.

2. Get the right people in the room
Get all of your key stakeholders in one room, committed for an agreed duration. Time is precious and you won’t want to lose any waiting for information or decisions to be made back at the office. Do you need business analysts, integration specialists, business process engineers, developers or sector specialists? Consider any skills sets you might be missing or that could enhance the decision making process.

3. Navigate the politics
Give your team the opportunity to get all concerns out in the open, acknowledge them, work through them and find a way to overcome them. We find using Edward de Bono’s ‘Six Thinking Hats’ problem solving technique is a great way to separate emotions from facts in a structured and well-managed team environment.

4. Assess the benefits – appraise the risks – manage the change
Look at the benefits that can really be brought to fruition and asses what the risks are around each. We use our 5 Ways philosophy to ensure that any project we embark on has at least one or more of the following business benefits:

  1. Raising quality and lowering costs
  2. Acquiring and retaining customers
  3. Providing timely and accurate information
  4. Improving teamwork and communication
  5. Reducing risk and increasing security

Beware of overlooking change management and governance. Map out the business change and outline how you’ll plan to manage it. What will it look like? Who will lead it and when should it start? Who will govern it going forward?

With key stakeholders consulted, politics addressed, and benefits and risks unpicked in an open and focussed environment, testing out those brilliant ideas has never looked less daunting. And even if in the end your idea isn’t going to fly, it’s better to know and have learned, than ponder on what might have been.

One Great Week…

…is our concept for embracing new ideas. It’s an intensely mind stretching, collaborative, 5 day workshop designed to investigate the viability of a great idea with the security that it’s a one off exercise to enable a decision on a bigger commitment.

One of our clients spent One Great Week with us exploring the potential to bring their systems, data and applications together using a dedicated integration platform.

The week long session helped to uncover the viability of the solution, brought the team on board with the possibilities, produced high level architecture and designs and rapidly enabled our client to decide how to proceed with their big project.

If you’re ready to solve that tricky problem, or finally figure out if your idea has legs, come and chat to us to see how we can help.

Waterstons Coffee Club with Chris Grosberg, our lead Communication & Collaboration Consultant (11:00 - 12:00)

21 April 2021

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