I Have An Idea

Ndatse had an idea but was not sure it was a good thing to share it. He seemed hesitant as he stepped into my office, for our 30 minutes Idea Review Session (a monthly chat initiated by my department to encourage everyone to share ideas). He’d barely taken a seat when he asked: “…as a staff of an organization, do I need to have ideas, and if I do, can I share them or is that something reserved for ‘Strategy Meetings’?”

I was taken aback by his pointed yet honest question. “Everyone has ideas and it’s up to you to decide whether you would like to share or not. However, if the idea has the potential to improve a person or process, then it’s worth sharing. I have quite a few ideas”, Ndatse said, “during my interviews the panel made me believe that this is the place to execute them all. I picked up my offer letter knowing that I can achieve greatness and indeed add value to my organization”

“It’s been 3 years, and I am getting burned out; a lot of my ideas have not seen the light of day, the few that were adopted either went in a completely different direction or are being managed by people who do not know its origin. I am tired of mentioning my ideas in the lunch room, at the car park and in my boss’s office, and watching the initial fire of interest in their eyes die as they ask probing questions” Ndatse lamented.

“It’s an idea, not a fully formed thesis! Why should I know the details? We can figure it out as we go, right?” In that moment I could sense Ndatse’s frustration, however, to pitch a winning idea at work, there are a few factors we need to consider.

Write it down – this is the simplest yet most difficult task for idea owners. Writing it down helps you fine-tune the content of your ideas and evaluate its merits.
Research – do not under-estimate the place of research. It helps you identify the root cause of the problem and establish if and why your idea is needed.
Reality check – we all want that robot assistant that does all our work for us and does not complain (sound familiar?), well, is that what your organization needs? Remember, ideas should be aligned with the organisation’s goals and objectives.
Timing – you know the saying ‘there is a time for everything’? It is very true, especially at work. If your organization is running at a loss, now is not the time to propose more expensive status cars.
Execution – in pitching your idea you have to think through the end-to-end process, like the scope, budget, constraints, milestones and timelines. Easy right?
ROI – fantastic ideas have financial implications, you need to reassure the business that it is worth the investment. Return-On-Investment is at the root of every strategic decision for or against an idea.

Which other factors do we need to consider when we want to generate ideas that rule the workplace? Leave a comment, tag and share with friends to know what they think.

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