Great ideas are like helium…they float from the bottom, rather than fall from the top.
Great companies are built on great people with great ideas who can execute. But typically the great ideas are in the unharvested minds of customers and employees. Unfortunately, the idea needed to solve a problem today may have been the one that was overlooked, ignored or forgotten when it was proposed in a random meeting a month ago.
How do you unearth and track new ideas, projects, and solutions? Here are some tactics that have worked for me:
Assign a central coordinator the group to manage new ideas
Maintaini and communicate this list of ideas/projects frequently
Have someone take notes in a meeting, capturing the casual and tangential discussions where solutions are often presented. Keep meeting minutes. Make a note of any ‘future ideas’. Get to the coordinator.
Internal brainstorm session with cross-functional employees
External ‘ideation’ session with customers.
Bring up challenges in lunch conversations and 1x1s. Participants may have an idea.
Look at competitors frequently
Look at parallel industries/companies
Ask your vendors & agencies
Make explicit efforts to pull tomorrow's breakthrough ideas out of customers' and employees brains, and make a process to capture the gems presented in the day-to-day. Then prioritize and execute.