Idea Crafting

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Why do ideas need to be crafted?

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May 25, 2011

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Typically, in an organization, ideas come from various channels
Employees (work)
Competitors Business & technology strategy

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Customers and customer facing teams

R&D

Partners, suppliers and collaborators

Ideas
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Organizational processes

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And these ideas may have various purposes . . .
(New )product ideas New service ideas

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Brand building and marketing ideas

improvement continuous Ideas for

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Ideas may also be
Serendipitous Orchestrated

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OR

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Organizations have some processes to help ideas reach their objectives

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New product or service or business model ideas – A typical funnel and stage gate model

A few ideas make it

Many get stuck midway

And most lose steam very early
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Ideas (from various channels)

The filtration funnel (based on various criteria)
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The stage gate process (with evaluation and decisions at various stages)

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Continuous improvement models
(these typically apply on the grass-roots processes and activities and are aimed at gradual change)

(Deviations are bad!)

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Standardize and ensure repeatability
Six Sigma
Reducing error and deviations from the norm
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Focus on controlling system parameters
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The Technology and Intellectual Property value chains
Trade secret Idea Invention Intellectual Property Patent

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Value

Exploit

Protect

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Clearly, at any given point in time there are several different types of ideas being conceptualized, implemented and pursued across various levels of the organization

They have different purposes and different rhythms
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All of them contribute to the innovation quotient of an organization

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Why do our innovation processes not work as well as we think they should?
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Ideas are lonely

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Several serendipitous ideas may actually be inherently synchronous – they can be combined

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Ideas may be disconnected from the larger context

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Ideas end up making an emergency landing in a context

As opposed to getting launched out of a context

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Filtration processes systematically eliminate the outliers the ones that don’t fit into the current and present
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The outliers are actually the real ideas!

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We are used to Logical thinking Analytical thinking Reductionist Approaches Linear approaches which helps us to
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Ideas and innovation are by their very nature Non-linear Exploratory Divergent

converge narrow down select decide

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Only live ideas can be productive
How to nurture ideas and keep them alive? How to craft ideas?
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Idea Crafting
IDEAS are the genesis of change – many times fundamental.
These are thoughts that one doesn’t get in the regular run-of-the-mill thinking.

IDEAS can happen serendipitously in the human mind.
They can be fleeting glimpses of problem solutions, can be dreams of possible new opportunities, can be new design structures or simply new experiences.

IDEAS don’t happen just like that. They come to prepared minds.
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Only prepared minds can transform these thoughts into change. It requires ability to generate and execute at the same time.

IDEAS need to be crafted through orchestrated immersion.
Contrary to popular belief of organizations having lots of ideas and “it is all about execution”, our experiences show ideas need to be crafted through orchestrated immersion of minds that work inside and with the enterprises.

Idea Crafting helps generate and build ideas that become the genesis of change for large enterprises
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In addition to Analytical and Logical Thinking we need . . .
Inventive Thinking
(inventive triggers, laws of evolution, scenario building, focus on function)

Lean Thinking
(Value maximization, experimentation, learning approach, elegance)

Systems Thinking
(holistic approach, global optima, expanded and connected system context)

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LIST (Lean Inventive Systems Thinking)

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Lean Inventive Systems Thinking
Powerful scientific structured mechanisms to Help individuals tap and exploit their creative skills

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Help teams synergize better and exploit the non-linear energies of brainstorming and set-based concurrent approaches

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Lean Inventive Systems Thinking

Help teams and individuals
• Effectively diverge and converge • Expand the context • Explore non-linear paths • Build future scenarios • Generate truly novel ideas • Connect ideas together • Identify key value parameters • Assess solutions in a structured manner • Take informed decisions

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Lean Inventive Systems Thinking

Help organizations craft their own unique innovation processes that are in sync with the overall organizational culture and vision
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There cannot be any cookie-cutter solutions

One size doesn’t fit all!
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The cogs of the organizational innovation wheel
Ability to reach out to and utilize external talent and people networks More creativity and skill in individuals and teams

More productive, reliable, efficient internal processes Seamless integration with external ecosystem processes e.g. the supply chain

more and better functionality Improved fit in the ecosystem Closer to customer needs

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For the wheel to move forward, all cogs have to move synchronously, in unison and feed energy to each other
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A question that often crops up . . .
Does this mean that in order for ideas to be effectively crafted
We need to have all the systems and processes in place All people trained on various frameworks, tools and techniques Buy-in from top management across the organization
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Before we can get started? In effect, is it “all” or “none”? Do we have to boil the ocean first?

The short answer is NO.
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Embedding Innovation DNA in organizations
• Short cycle experiments

• Application of innovation frameworks to multiple contexts – ranging from grass-roots project activities to business and technology strategy
• Small successes breed larger successes • “Learning by doing” is the best way to inculcate innovative thinking
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• Build unique organic perspectives on innovation and design innovation processes accordingly • Innovation buzz and conviction spreads faster sideways as opposed to top down – internal word of mouth marketing works best (only possible if real value is seen by the people using the innovation processes)
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To help craft ideas in any context, Crafitti uses a broad 3-stage process
• Explore
– Connect with the practitioners; understand the context – Explore multiple perspectives and dimensions – Come up with a customized approach (usage of frameworks)

• Engage
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– Co-craft innovation in a “live” context using the customized approach – Facilitate deep learning of the innovation frameworks through “learning by doing”

• Empower
– Hand-hold to maximize the probability of success – Set the context for future experimentation and application – Create a cadre of minds prepared for idea crafting (for organic diffusion)
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Details of the Idea Crafting Process used in business strategy and growth contexts
Solution Evaluation/ prioritization
•Key Value parameters •Analytic Hierarchy Process •Playing out scenarios

Set-based concurrent approach

SPOT
•Strategy •Process •Organization •Technology

Converge
•Key Value Parameters •Prioritization using the Analytic Hierarchy Process

Create Solution depth
•Clustering •Resources and constraints

Idea Explosion
•Inventive triggers •Scenario building •Brainstorming

Collect and connect
•Mind Maps •Clustering •Dependency Analysis crafting innovation together

Expand and explore the context
•Scenario building •Space-time expansion •Value Networks

Generating multiple novel and interesting solution directions

Creating solution execution strategies and roadmaps

Finding the right problem/ opportunity

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Crafitti looks forward to active collaboration and help craft ideas in multiple innovation contexts.

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