Friday, December 24, 2010

Architecting an A-Ha ecosystem

"An A-Ha" moment - for a problem that you have been grappling with for a long time. Interestingly the solution once arrived at, starts to look like a obvious one, and you wonder why you didn't think of it before. Enterprises all over the world are interested in institutionalising this and so wonder "Can we make the A-ha moment repeatable and produce it at will?" Of course, it is not possible to architect these moments, but instead you can architect an ecosystem which can foster these moments.

Depending on your enterprise DNA, there are various steps you can take, we describe some below to pick from.

Maintain inventory of problems – Most organizations miss this step. They might have KM system to capture the knowledge and idea management to capture the ideas but there are few enterprises that maintain a list of problems. This when carefully planned, pays by providing road map for enterprise innovation.

Creativity attracts creativity – Be innovative in how you approach the process of getting your problems solved. Idea boxes may not be the best way to go, instead illustrative challenge definition is one way of telling others that you are looking forward to and are serious about the solutions.

Break hierarchical model of problem solving – A problem does not need to be solved by the lead scientist or by someone who has tendency to come up with ideas. Find ways to democratise the innovation process. However don’t attempt this unless you create a buy in from R&D folks and the management.

Onboard the ‘A-ha’ moment owner - Dare him to expand on the idea and as far as possible and bring him onboard when you take the idea forward. It’s nice to make deserving person feel important. Not only will this add value in rolling out the solution but will also send an immensely positive message to others to ideate for you in the future.

Think about it, how many precious sparks might have faded and how many are about to meet the same fate. The least enterprises can do is to provide an ecosystem which enables a-ha moments to arrive, and assure proper treatment, when they do arrive.

ideaken helps enterprises build this ecosystem of collaborative innovation.