RETURN on INNOVATION: How to Pick the Best Idea 4 Steps

By Blog, Innovation

My friend Kevin hired me last year to “get the ideas”. “They are in my team’s head but they are not sharing them. I want you to coax them out”, he said.

DawnnaOnStageI leveraged my power of persuasion from the stage and within 10 minutes we had captured over 100 market-cornering ideas that would change the face of Kevin’s company. He was pysched!

A year later and Kevin called again. “I need you to work your magic again”, he said.

“Dude! I will be happy to take your money; but there is no way that you implemented even 10% of those ideas. What’s the deal?”, I asked.

“We got the ideas, but we didn’t know which one to choose so we didn’t do anything.”, he confessed.


Not making a decision is a decision. And Kevin did exactly that.

Note: Consistent indecision will cause your team to shut down and not share ideas at all. That’s where Kevin was when he hired me the first time.

Most companies that I work with are not stuck getting ideas, as Kevin initially thought. The first challenge is picking the best idea in which to invest. This challenge is so significant that, according to the Standish Group’s Chaos Report, 91% of investments in innovation fail! So companies want to invest, but they don’t know what to invest in.

To pick the best idea all you have to do is use my Four FoolProof Factors.

FasterFactor 1: Is it FASTER?
Consider the innovation that you want to implement? Compare that to your current experience. Will your innovation make the experience faster? What is the difference in efficiency? That number is your first factor – TIME.



HigherValueFactor 2: Is there an Improved ROI?
Do your innovation’s costs less? Can you squeak out a few extra dollars on price to get a higher ROI? Whatever the numbers are, ROI is your next factor.




EasierFactor 3: Is it Easier?
How long did it take your end user to get comfortable with the current process? A day, a week, a year? How long will it take for them to adopt the new one?

Consider the ease of use of a Blackberry vs an iPhone. It might take a month, with regular use to pick up the Blackberry. Whereas an iPhone was so easy that within a day a small child could use it.

The difference in adoption rate is your next factor.


BetterFactor 4: Is it BETTER?
You might think that if you have the other three factors that better is a no-brainer. But not really.

Let’s say you wanted a glass of water. I could walk pass the bathroom to the kitchen and get you a glass of water. Or I could stop at the latrine and scoop out a cup of blue. I am pretty sure that you think the former is better than the latter, although the latter would take me much less time (faster). Just because something is faster or easier or cheaper or earns more does not mean it is better.

Better is the uncomfortable intangible list. If you know your customer however, this list is not hard to come by. For example: I know that my customers want faster replies; easier communications; a guarantee of success; someone easy to work with; a highly engaging speaker with great content – notice how price is not there because they rarely want cheaper. My goal is to quantify these in such a way that I can make them better.

There are tons of ways to measure better, but truly, this is a leading innovation and customer experience factor. Back away from the process and look at it with clear eyes. Does the innovation make the experience better? Rate how much better from 1 – 10 and you have your final factor.

By using my Four Foolproof Factors you will quickly be able to identify the idea that will give you the highest return on innovation.


Hire Dawnna to keynote your next conference.