Monday, August 30, 2010

Can Ideas Be Managed?

In comments to a recent blog post, Hutch Carpenter from Spigit and Mark Turrell from Imaginatik took up the question of "whether it even makes sense to say that ideas can be managed."

This is a great question, and I think it goes to the heart of what Idea Management is all about.

To me, the key distinction I bear in mind is that:
  • Creativity and the generation of new ideas may vary between quite unpredictable creative and psychological processes to predictable manageable processes. So the creative act of generating ideas may not always be manageable. 
  • But what organizations do with ideas once they have been generated can be managed systematically, as the ideas generated are assessed for their business value and the cost and ease and value of implementation, and managed through to delivery of business benefits or outcomes. 
Mark and Hutch suggest that "ideas are easy, Innovation is hard." This is true up to a point.

It is relatively easy to generate a lot of ideas. It can sometimes be hard though to generate really good ideas, which is why there is a continuing focus on creativity tools and techniques, innovation strategies are important, and there is an ongoing demand for thought leaders in any field. 

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