How an Idea Becomes Innovation

Grand Challenge call for innovations
Grand Challenge call for innovations
Image: FILE

How do you know you have a great idea? How do you know that your idea is as good as you claim? Right now, you don’t; it’s still in your mind. At best, it’s a guess.

There is an excitement that comes with the conception of an idea that sometimes blinds the ideologue. But, as you conceive your idea, it is important to know the process that would make it a great idea. Ideation alone does not qualify your idea. We can’t call it innovation when it’s locked up in your mind. So, here are three ways to ascertain that your idea has become innovation.

It’s Done: This is when the idea moves from a thought in your head to become a prototype. You can see it in some form – it is done. Now, you have a product in your hands. When you’ve not done an idea, the journey is yet to start. Doing your idea is a huge part of the innovation journey.

I believe entrepreneurs shouldn’t get excited until the idea is done. Instead, push to make your idea happen. Some people stay with the excitement of ideation and get nothing done – don’t make this mistake. It’s not innovation until it’s done.

It’s Leverage: Does your idea work? Does it make people’s lives easier? Is it leverage? Your idea was conceived with a purpose; it was designed to solve a problem. Has the problem been solved?

Your idea works when it solves a problem. It’s relevant when it creates leverage. It works when people’s lives are made to function better and easier. An idea is innovation when people agree that it solves a real problem.

It Sells: You’ve done it. It solves a problem. But does it sell? Who is buying your idea? It’s not enough to conclude that you have a great product. But, do you have buy-in from people? Do people want to buy what you have produced? This is huge because the final innovation certification comes from people, not you. If the people call it innovation, then it is. Until then, it’s only a product that excites you.

It’s innovation if people agree that it is and it sells. When products like the iPod, iPhone and iPad hit the market, we all agreed with Apple that these products were innovative by buying them. We paid cash to own them. Let’s be very clear about this: if people are not paying for your idea, then they don’t think it’s innovation.

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