How to Convert Your Great Ideas into Customer Value - GrowinBytes Ed. 107

Published by Linda Rolf on 6/18/2018 and updated 11/16/2021

You Have a Great Idea. Now What?

"I have a great idea" is a phrase that is often met with equal parts eye-rolling and a fast exit from the room. While ideas are never in short supply, it's the get it done potholes that reduce them to vague wishful notes and missed opportunities.

There's something about the promise of a genius idea that begs to remain in its pristine, hopeful state. The reality is ideas have to get a little messy if there is going to be any practical progress.

Recently I found myself with a long list of projects, priorities, and unformed ideas. As I typically do, I began the process of organizing, categorizing, and ranking. It was soon clear that it was time to make a change.

Enter the Idea Triage Workbook

There are a few basic truths about great ideas. Among them:

• All ideas are not great

• Great is often only in the eye of the idea creator

• Greatness can be short-lived

• All ideas are not created equal

• Some, if not most ideas, should never see the light of day

• Buried in the cluttered idea pile are a few unpolished gems

• Every executable idea must align with the overall mission of the organization

We've all seen some variation of the pick-a-quadrant approach to idea prioritization. The simple matrix provides decision squares in which we stick our let's-do-it pushpin. What we need first is an orderly, repeatable process that ultimately lands us in the right square. Planting our pushpin is the result of a well-thought out analysis.

I confess that I can find the process of deconstructing a beautiful idea to be tedious and deflating. However, on this particular day, I decided to give it a go. Starting with one of my top priorities, I created the Idea Triage Workbook. Each column was a key point that had to be fully explored before jumping headfirst into the project.

As inventor, engineer, businessman and patent-holder Charles Kettering once said, "A problem well-stated is a problem half-solved."

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The Golden Guideline

"Every project, product, service and initiative must align with our core "think like our customer" mindset. If we are not contributing to the value our customers expect and deserve, then we will not move ahead." --- Quest Technology Group

Tips for Getting Started With Idea Triage

Each of these points is a topic in itself. For now, these short tips will help jumpstart your thinking.

Download Your Free Idea Triage Workbook

The Value-Effort Matrix

Value-Effort Decision Matrix


Both the process and the results completely surprised me. Even more eye-opening was the moment the next day when I found myself with another initiative to consider. Without even thinking about it, I created another worksheet in the Idea Triage Workbook and began writing. The cadence of focused analysis no longer felt like I was spoiling creativity. Instead I was giving my great idea a purposeful, measurable shape.

After you've tried the Idea Triage Workbook, I would love to hear from you. How did it help you turn a great idea into an actionable project?

I hope you enjoyed your snack!

GrowinBytes snack

Linda Rolf is a lifelong curious learner who believes a knowledge-first approach builds valuable client relationships.

She is fueled by discovering the unexpected connections among technology, data, information, people and process. For more than four decades, Linda and Quest Technology Group have been their clients' trusted advisor and strategic partner.

Linda believes that lasting value and trust are created through continuously listening, sharing knowledge freely, and delivering more than their clients even know they need.

As the CIO of their first startup client said, "The value that Quest brings to Cotton States is far greater than the software they develop."

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