There’s no such thing as a bad idea

teapot-tea-painting-with-light-smoking-39702I’ve got some news. There is.

There are simply loads of bad ideas. Chocolate teapots, a donut eating competition to fundraise for a diabetes charity and voice activated lifts – and that’s just for starters.

I believe that when you are trying to come up with original and creative ideas, part of the creative process is to have as many ideas as you can. At this stage it’s important not to filter or kill your own or others (good or bad) ideas. You need crazy and bad ideas to help inspire different thinking.

Your challenge is to turn the bad ideas into something brilliant.

The bad ideas aren’t supposed to make it to the marketplace.

I think many bad ideas make it to the marketplace because we start our creativity and innovation at the wrong place. We start with ideas.

The starting place for creativity and innovation isn’t ideas. The starting place are your supporters and beneficiaries.

Good ideas and innovation happen when you can solve a problem for your supporter or beneficiary or spot an opportunity to make their life better. And ‘better’ can be many things, for example, easier, faster, simpler, more exciting, sexier or more meaningful (or a combination of some or all of these things).

When we start the creative process with ideas we fall in love with them. And when we fall in love it’s impossible to be objective. And before you know it your bad idea has been manufactured and your money and reputation is slipping through your fingers.

That’s why the most successful innovations don’t start with an idea. They start with solving problems or making life better for their customer. Why do you think every time you buy something or eat out you are incentivised to give feedback on your experience? The success of TripAdvisor relies on reviews. Starbucks take your feedback and combine it with ethnographic research (observing you when you are in their coffee shops) so they can develop new products and ways of working that meet your needs.

When you know your supporter or beneficiary and innovate around their needs you start to reduce the risks of innovation. Getting to know them and developing ideas for them is far more likely to be successful than your light bulb moment about an idea you’ve fallen in love with.

Sometimes your customer wont know they need your idea; who knew we needed the internet, 10,000 songs in our pocket (iPods) or skinny decaf chai lattes?! Those ideas take more work to catch on – but if you have got your customer insight right they will pay off.

At Lucidity we believe that everyone is creative and an important part of that creative process isn’t starting with ideas. It’s first understanding your supporter or beneficiaries and then using that as inspiration for your ideas and innovation. That’s why we have teamed up with the insight experts at Insight-ful so that together we can help you develop your use of insight as part of your strategy for creativity and innovation.

If you’d like to be able to use the data you have better, or find low-cost ways to gather more data AND learn how to interpret it – get in touch. We’ve also got a new insight for beginners course over at Lucidity that might be right up your street.

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