“I begin with an idea and then it becomes something else.”

In many companies it can take up to 3,000 ideas to lead to 100 projects, resulting in only 2 launches, producing on average one product that breaks even and of these products only 20% turn a profit. Unfortunately, this is a statistic that business leaders are all too familiar with; I had the great pleasure of interviewing Pam Henderson, the author of You Can Kill An Idea, But You Can’t Kill An Opportunity, who counsels that it is opportunity that pre defines the value of an idea. Let’s extend the notion that an idea that exists only as an idea, will not go far, to realizing that your idea is probably not an idea, but an idea fragment.

Idea fragment? Yes, all those time sucking almost ideas that never come to fruition because there is no demand for them, and the fragment is never nurtured into an actual idea, much less the next big thing. What this means is that there is no idea butterfly effect unless there is intent for managing ideas.

So, where to start? Social media of course. Social media is an effective tool for capturing ideas internally and externally.

Drive Ideas Through Social Media

Remember, social media is a ‘flattner’ that allows business leaders to connect with the rest of the world. If your goal is to be the brand of choice, being seen as an idea catalyst is common sense. Social media platforms facilitate the collection and collaboration of idea fragments; the more fragments, the better shot of an idea sticking.

Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+, on a daily basis drive some aspect of business success somewhere, and Twitter is my preferred tool for real time listening, search, and engagement. Highly networked communities, like #BIF10 are exceptional networks for discovery, authentic and cutting edge conversation. Generating fragments is only the beginning, however. Managing, extending, and ultimately creating an idea that will grow, requires a focused plan. When fragments are shared, they expand, detract, mutate and evolve. Investing in an innovation co-creation platform will curate those fragments into maturity. Here is a list of innovation platforms to check out, I actually co-authored an eBook on Batterii and simultaneously managed the project while curating idea fragments.
Test Ideas

It is from our ideas that we have the power to change our lives and the way things are done. It takes a process to make ideas work and without a plan your business or project will not meet your vision, not to mention the time and money cost. Here are a few questions that will drive those fragments to an idea:

  • What is the demand for your idea? Are you really just playing with an idea fragment?
  • Do you have enough idea fragments to start connecting the dots?
  • What behavior will your idea impact?
  • What is your plan for prioritizing ideas?
  • Will this idea impact your future growth?

As a business leader, figure out where you do your most creative thinking then ask What If to get started. Good Luck!