Fresh ideas are the foundation of innovation. It’s widely believed that building a pipeline of ideas is the ultimate weapon for leading organizations but real value stems from developing a strategy to choose them wisely.

What does your company need to know to sort through ideas and select those that will generate maximum impact?

1. Don’t Choose Ideas in a Bubble

Approximately 70% of U.S. workers are not engaged – Gallup, Inc.

Never underestimate the importance of early – even immediate – collaboration when selecting ideas from the pipeline. Involving a diverse group of team members brings critical insight to conversations about operations and customer issues. Even more, early ideation collaboration encourages alignment. If your team doesn’t feel a sense of buy-in for new initiatives from the beginning, you may encounter challenges when executing new ideas. If every team member isn’t on-board, team participation may lag during the roll-out phase. Engage your team from the get-go through a group meeting or workshop to sort through ideas that you have on the table.

2. Do your homework

Once you’ve had an opportunity to sort through ideas, do your homework. This typically consists of research with customers and/or employees to ensure that your idea(s) are aligned with the market and/or your company’s ability to execute.

3. Be systematic

Develop a set of metrics to determine whether or not to launch the ideas on your short list. The criteria should include anything you deem essential for success, such as comparing value versus effort and risk. If your idea passes your test, commit to taking action. If not, submit the idea for further review or discard it. Tests are used to screen ideas, so don’t feel bad if you need to reject some and keep others.

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