How much does a bad idea cost?17 Apr 2013
There is nothing more damaging to a business than investment in a poorly conceived idea; or more tragic than a good idea that’s poorly executed. Beyond the wasted effort, enthusiasm and money it casts doubt over your firm’s ability to make good things happen.
The problem with ideas is that they are seductive; feeding on vanity and promising glory.
But if some ideas are weeds and others are the shoots of business growth, how can you tell which should be nurtured and which should be neutered? Just as a good gardener creates the best conditions for growth, every business needs someone who balances practical experience with a mind open to new methods and approaches.
Often, the difference between a good idea and a great idea is how it’s developed – and that involves collaboration and research. The genius of the Post-It note was someone recognising an application for someone else’s invention, and the genius of Facebook was realising its commercial potential – and acting on it first.
There are rare incidences of creative thinkers who are able to turn their ideas into commercial successes, but it’s far more common to find an inventor and an entrepreneur working together – one to reach for the sky and one to make sure they don’t crash and burn.
We see many great examples of this each year on the National Business Awards. In 2010, we learned how Martin McCourt’s global strategy helped Sir James Dyson turn his engineering genius into a billion turnover business. We also discovered that Wow! Stuff, the award-winningly innovative toy distributor and marketer, connected a virtual community of inventors to incubate ideas – a good idea driven by the company’s very entrepreneurial MD, Richard North.
In 2011, we found some inspirational examples of manufacturing and engineering businesses innovating in partnership with universities or adopting a collegiate approach – with Renishaw, ENER-G and Harvard Engineering all picking up awards.
In 2012, we saw innovation aligned with a focus on talent – with organisations of all sizes investing in a creative culture and environment to retain, develop and attract the best people from within and outside their industry.
This was clearly demonstrated by two winners from the South West – Wiltshire-based apetito which won the Orange Innovation Award and Bristol-based Trunki which was crowned Santander SME of the Year. While apetito has successfully applied family values and a customer focused approach to innovation, design-led Trunki envelopes its people in a creative space (the ‘Mothereship’) and invests in time to think.
Rob Law, Trunki’s dynamic CEO, will be sharing his award-winning approach to innovation at the first of two regional events hosted by the National Business Awards in 2013 – part of its campaign to recognise the contribution of key regions, industries, organisations and individuals to Britain’s economic recovery. Focusing on how innovation is led and enabled in the South West, we’re bringing the region’s best business leaders together with the nation’s thought-leaders to debate some big questions: like how to distinguish between a good idea and bad one, how to incubate and execute the good ideas, and options for investing in them.
If you would like to join this debate and connect with peers from a variety of industries, register for your free place on 9th May. There are also some places available for an awards workshop running alongside this event so contact Rebecca Page if you would like to send a colleague along.
If you can’t make this event but want to tell the story of how you have successfully innovated, why not submit an entry for this year’s National Business Awards for the chance of recognition on the country’s biggest stage. Click here to find out which category matches your achievement.