What is idea generation?
Idea generation refers to the process of systematically searching for new approaches to solutions as well as generating new, previously non-existent ideas. Idea generation refers primarily to the early phase of the creative process. The term idea development, on the other hand, has a broader meaning: it also includes the systematic enhancement of ideas into concepts.
Idea generation is an important component of management concepts such as the continuous improvement process (CIP), idea management and innovation management of companies. The early phase of the idea management process and innovation process is often referred to as the fuzzy front end of innovation.
Until a few years ago, new ideas were mainly developed with the help of creativity techniques in ideation workshops and business innovation workshops. Due to the growing use of idea management software and innovation management software in companies, new ideas are increasingly being developed online. By using methods such as open Innovation and Customer Co-creation, customers are directly involved in product development or the development of service innovations. On open innovation platforms, they develop ideas together with companies.
Idea generation steps
Idea generation follows a systematic approach that is often supported by an innovation process or a continuous improvement process. More and more companies are creating a culture of innovation and introducing continuous improvement managers to support employees in developing their ideas. This process initially includes a step in which a profound understanding of the task is gained. This can be done, for example, through customer interviews or a trend analysis. Questions are developed from this first step in idea generation. In the second step, ideas are generated. In the third step, the concepts are optimized and an implementation plan is drawn up.
One such method of systematic idea generation breaks down the development methodology of the well-known inventor Thomas Alva Edison into comprehensible steps and makes them applicable. In six consecutive steps, you can develop very effective ideas and create concepts that are ready for implementation.
Thomas Edison usually took the following steps:
Enabling: The search for the right field of innovation
Defining: Develop search queries and specify search paths
Inspiring: Search for thoughts and stimuli from other areas
Selecting: Generate and evaluate ideas
Optimizing: From the initial idea to the mature concept
Nurturing: Enrich ideas with various implementation strategies
Web-based tools such as Innolytics® Innovation support the process of systematic idea generation. The individual stages can be defined so that ideas go through a clearly defined process: from the structured discussion of trends and challenges to the input and commenting of ideas to the development and selection of sound concepts.
Idea Generation in Entrepreneurship
Finding new ideas is the key to managing change and innovation. Companies need to find ideas for organizational innovation, to develop innovative products and service innovations. Innovation strategies and digital strategies can only be implemented effectively through successful ideas. Ideas are also the key to digital innovation and the development or digital business models. Advanced idea management software and innovation management software makes it possible to define topics for idea generation and collaboratively develop ideas.
From the idea to successful innovation
A creative idea is only the beginning of the development process. Before a reliable concept emerges from the multitude of new ideas, they are questioned, evaluated, optimized, further developed and checked for their feasibility. The goal of structured idea generation is a feasible concept, for example for process improvements, new products and innovative business models.
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