It’s time to end the BIG BANG theory of innovation

Big Bang

There is a misperception that big ideas are created through a magical “Big Bang.” It just does not happen like that. We have listened as executives rewrite history by claiming that it had occurred that way even though it hadn’t.

The truth of the matter is that big ideas are built through many cycles of learning, problem solving and reinventing. Big ideas are created by people who care deeply about building something that matters.

To put numbers on it – your starting idea is responsible for at best 10% of your final bottom line business result. 90% of your success lies in the hard work you put in during the journey from idea to reality.

Consultants, speakers and authors who preach but have never practiced innovation perpetuate the Big Bang misperception. They advise that the secret to success is investing in the front end of innovation – in expensive insight research, market modelling and strategic summits. Their theory is that from that work a Big Bang miracle insight will occur that you can simply execute. They then claim victory, take their high fee – and you struggle to make the idea real. To be quantitative about it – two very high quality studies found that the key to innovation success is in the get your hands dirty, hard work of turning the ideas into reality.

Done right and good ideas become awesome.

Done the average corporate way and two high quality surveys find your idea loses 50% of its’ value during the development process.

What sets Innovation Engineering apart from other innovation systems is a never ending commitment to the journey from idea to reality. This rigorous approach has been shown to increase the value of an innovation by 28% through the development cycle.

I have first hand experience of this during my time in the Drinks Industry, where I added over £12Million in profit to The Famous Grouse brand by applying IE.

Now as part of the Innovation Engineering Institute, we continue to ship our ideas – only now they are innovation systems training, tools & software. The process of going from ideas to reality keeps our teaching and software real. It’s also a TON OF FUN. In fact, I don’t think there is anything in business more exciting than the journey from idea to reality. The feeling you get when the idea ships (product, service, new work system) is indescribable.

So what are you waiting for? Roll up your sleeves and take an idea – actually any idea – and begin the journey to make it GREAT!


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