4 steps to saving good ideas in your organisation

4 steps to saving good ideas in your organisation

This week I am delivering a Masterclass event in the United States, focusing on Talent management and shifting good ideas into action – basically developing stronger business cases for good ideas, which increases the probability of  “good ideas” being operationalised.

For those of you that follow this blog, you’ll know that I’ve been arguing for a while that good ideas just aren’t good enough – for those interested in hearing more on why I believe “good ideas are not good enough”, tune into episode 2 of our Renegade Manager podcast on iTunes. In the podcast, Zoe talks about the challenges of convincing line managers that good ideas are worth moving to action; she also explains how she deploys the method below to move people from good ideas to action.

Think about your own role. Perhaps you are a Knowledge Manager, a Project Manager, a Talent Manager, or someone who is involved in Human Resource Development. You or a direct report come up with an idea for change, but the argument for the adoption of the idea just doesn’t seem to get across the line. When this happens, our analysis of “failure” shows that it is often because the “good idea” lacks a business case.

I want to help you save your good ideas before they get lost. So, to help, try the following approach:

  1. Detail your good idea – what is it that you are actually speaking of?
  2. Where is the PRESSURE – what Quality Improvements will the business see (think about and report on improvements to STIQC – Safety, Time, Innovation, Quality and, ultimately, Cost)?
  3. How does your good idea provide an OPPORTUNITY to improve process, structure and behaviours within the organisation, resulting in cultural impact, and what would these improvements look like?
  4. Can you RATIONALIZE your good idea?  Your message needs to be meaningful to lots of different people; this means crafting a message that varies according to your intended receiver, which should bring you to consider ITGOS – Individuals, Teams, Groups, Organisation, and Society (wider stakeholders).



Let us know what you think of this framework. Also, if you like what you read here, why not tune into our new Renegade Manager Podcast, available on iTunes, where we discuss issues such as this.

Also, please, get in touch if you have feedback or ideas you want to share: email (david@k3cubed.com); Skype (davidatk3cubed); call (+44 (0)7500 966998).

7 thoughts on “4 steps to saving good ideas in your organisation

  1. Hi David,
    Good ideas also take time to process. I would have added to the concept an element of storing ideas for later work development and implementation, so that they don’t get lost or passed over by constraints and pressure of daily routine. The “idea storage” would be accessible for everyone to add an idea and would be reviewed periodically by a dedicated improvement team or committee to select, prioritize and promote ideas to working stages.

  2. David,
    I think a key to advancing any idea is/are the individuals who either volunteer, or are nominated to carry each idea forward. Haim’s idea of storage is fine, but a store often ends up being just that, somewhere to “put away” the good idea for the moment and often the door is closed behind them. Live people must take up the idea and using your “Business Case” diagram work through it, develop it and see how it fits in the business. When it is presented and developed, then there may be a better case for action, as the full benefits are better outlined. I like your diagram because it is direct and doesn’t pussyfoot around.

    1. Hi Myles,
      Sorry to have cut off the disussion in tte middle, soort of. we just continued it on LinkedIn.
      For the sake of completeness here is the continuation:
      David replied :
      “Haim, thank you for the feedback. I agree that idea storage is important and you make a good point. However, my focus here is really about accelerating the idea to action by developing and communicating a more coherent business case. That said, I do agree that a failure to proceed drives the need for a repository for future consideration.”
      And to that I replied:
      “David, I understand the focus of the post, and I totally agree with the need to structure the ides on the solid 4 “legs” that you presented to make a good business case. However, when you work through a storage mechanism, the “expertise” needed to build a solid business case needs to be mastered by the innovation committee only, and they could guide and work with the selected ideas owners to build the business case. This will allow the organization to focus on fostering a culture of “Let’s gather all ideas you have, we’ll worry about structure later, and you’ll have help to develop it”.
      Hope this sheds more light on the matter, since the “store” is not just a store. it is a process where dedeicated people with tehw expertise required to build a solid bussiness case periodically review and actively promote the ideas inthe “store” , thus encouraging everyone to contribute ideas without preconditions.

  3. Hi Haim… just to say, I agree with so much you say, but mastered by the innovation committee only? I can’t agree with this, not in a world of ever-increasing complexity. Good idea attenuation and promotion by committee is, in my opinion, counter-intuitive and cumbersome. From practical experience, for example, working with an international pharma company, the practicalities of a centralised innovation team gathering ideas breeds unnecessary layers of bureaucracy, black box processes, that don’t exactly stimulate trust, which leads to a lack of good ideas being put forward – basically defeating the whole objective of having a centralised innovation team in the first place.

    1. Hello David,
      Thank you so much for pointing that out ! I didn’t mean it that way, and I’ll ammend:
      The comitee is not meant to be an “added layer of bureaucracy”, just a group of experienced people with a distinct reponsibility for helping to promote stored ideas so they don’t get lost, and having enough knowledge about building a solid bussiness case as to effectively assist the idea owners who are the main stakehiolders format their ideas in a way that makes sense in a board room. It is supposed to free people from worrying about format and encourage them to put forward their thoughts in free form, knowing they will have support on the process of preparing the formal presentation.

    2. By the way, my experience is that having the support of of a multi disciplinary team helps form a case with a broader perspective. And yes, you were right to point out my misguided expression. As we all know, nuances are important. In most circumstances language sets stage for connotation, and connotation is key to perception.

  4. Linus Pauling said that “if you want to have good ideas you must have many ideas”.
    Therefore an innovative organization must have a clear process for sifting the good ideas. The process should include priorities and criteria specific to the organization.

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