Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.
Turning Ideas Into
Projects
John-Michael Scott
Nextinit, LLC
Turning Ideas Into Projects
How & When Ideas Become Projects…
John-Michael Scott — NextInit, LLC
Idea Formation 4......................................................
When Does Idea Formation Happen? 4....................
Idea Formation
When Does Idea Formation Happen?
Companies, organizations and governments around the world are working feve...
Just because a good ideas appears, is that enough? Does the idea spur an entire series of
events that leads to amazing mom...
The focus in this method of development is “to eliminate wasteful practices and increase
value-producing practices during ...
Question
Famously, NASA, DARPA and the X Prize Foundation conducted an open competition to
stimulate the first commercial l...
enough information that others can clearly understand what the idea itself might become.
At a minimum, this includes the f...
culmination or discard on the back of one individual. Collaboration and peer review/
contribution is critical to this proc...
things that done. As an iterative collaborative process, ideation doesn’t fit well within a
deliverable based time driven p...
A screwdriver is great for getting screws into a wall in a secure way. A saw is great for
resizing an object to fit the spa...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

Turning Ideas Into Projects

157 views

Published on

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

Turning Ideas Into Projects

  1. 1. Turning Ideas Into Projects John-Michael Scott Nextinit, LLC
  2. 2. Turning Ideas Into Projects How & When Ideas Become Projects… John-Michael Scott — NextInit, LLC
  3. 3. Idea Formation 4...................................................... When Does Idea Formation Happen? 4............................................... When Is An Idea More Than An Idea? 4............................................... Proto-Project Development 5................................. How Do We Get From Idea to Proto-Project? 5................................... Where Do We Go From Here? 9........................................................... When Do Ideas Become Projects? 11.................................................
  4. 4. Idea Formation When Does Idea Formation Happen? Companies, organizations and governments around the world are working feverishly to identify the best ideas to stave off the oncoming wave of “dinosaurism" chasing immediately behind them. Companies that dominated their industry in one decade like Yahoo - are literally struggling for their lives in the next decade. The internet introduces a near constant stream of disruption threatening to overtake “the way things are done” today. But, what can hold back these forces? A resounding voice across media and scholarly work point to innovation as the critical offensive and defensive act. When Is An Idea More Than An Idea? “Mater artium necessitas” ~ William Horma, 1519 “Necessity is the mother of invention” ~Richard Franck, 1658
  5. 5. Just because a good ideas appears, is that enough? Does the idea spur an entire series of events that leads to amazing moments of creation and disruption? Is a chain reaction lit leading to an inevitable result? To that, there is only one answer - No. An idea is just that - nothing more, nothing less until it is given motive force. So when does an idea become more than an idea? An idea finds root in the hands of those committed individuals who believe with conviction that the idea should be brought to life… The landscape is literally littered with ideas lacking the patronage of a Tesla, Musk, Jobs, Da Vinci or Alhazen to shepherd them from seedlings without root to into the fully formed giant redwoods standing for hundreds and even thousands of years. So, this leads us to an ingredient list for success that becomes critical to the future of all of our ideas: 💡 + " # $ % + 🔭 🔬 🌡 🛠 ⏱ + ⚖ 📑 📈 📉 -or- Ideas + People + Work + Measurement This is just the beginning though. We still aren’t at the point of deciding that any of these ideas is actually worth anything. What we have hinted at here is that we should apply the scientific method to every single idea we consider - even after there is some motive force and we have taken the idea out of pure abstract concept and molded it into something that might have some promise. So what comes next? Proto-Project Development How Do We Get From Idea to Proto-Project? The assumption many people make is that once you have an idea and some people interested in making it happen - you’re set. It’s a project and you get to work. After many thousands of hours and many millions of dollars - the world of startups has something to say about that. Eric Ries coined a new method for building businesses and products in 2008 - the Lean Startup. Tesla went on to pursue his ideas of wireless lighting and electricity distribution in his high-voltage, high-frequency power experiments in New York and Colorado Springs, and made early (1893) pronouncements on the possibility of wireless communication with his devices. ~ Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikola_Tesla
  6. 6. The focus in this method of development is “to eliminate wasteful practices and increase value-producing practices during the product development phase so that startups can have a better chance of success without requiring large amounts of outside funding, elaborate business plans, or the perfect product.” Translated to the process of1 evolving any idea to the point of being a porto-project - it becomes critical that idea experience rapid and low-cost iteration and that the development of time-consuming and detailed idea specifications, charters and business plans be avoided at all cost. The goal first and foremost is to plant the seeds, invite collaboration and identify the most promising prospects before heavier investment of manpower, dollars and time take place - let’s call this “Lean Ideation.” So what could that look like? Observe A water utility once challenge the community served by the utility to identify methods to improve water quality within one of it’s reservoirs. By asking all of the customers served by the utility to participate in the process, the utility sought to improve the quantity and quality of ideas that might be applied to the problem. In turn, the customers brought to bear their observations about factors impacting water quality, techniques available to offset impacting factors, technologies that might prove effective and people who might be able to apply brainpower or manpower to contribute to solving the problem. By expanding the circle of participants in the problem, the utility was able to tap into a much greater collection of experiences, knowledge and problem solving capabilities than it had access to on its own within the walls of the company. The first step in every lean ideation effort should be to challenge the largest possible audience of participants to contribute to the observation step. Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lean_startup1 The lean startup philosophy is based on lean manufacturing, the streamlined production philosophy pioneered by Taiichi Ohno by combining flow principles used by Henry Ford starting in 1906 and the TWI (training within industry) programs introduced to Japan in 1951. ~ Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lean_startup
  7. 7. Question Famously, NASA, DARPA and the X Prize Foundation conducted an open competition to stimulate the first commercial launches of rockets to reach space. Since that competition, the number of active commercial participants in the space industry has be steadily on the rise. One famous CEO in particular has looked at the problem of how to get to space from a significantly different point of view than prior generations of rocketeers - what if we could recover and recycle used parts of our rockets - what would that mean for the cost of getting to space? The second step in lean ideation is to question the status quo - just because a problem has been solved in one way previously does not mean that the problem can’t be solved in another way more effectively. Additionally, what is effective may be greatly impacted by timing, availability of capital, availability of technology and many other factors which change frequently. Conceive Recently, the XQ Super School project asked anyone who wished to participate to identify and submit their ideas for what a re-envisioned high school might look like. Thousands of participants have identified hundreds of new ideas to try in creating a new approach to learning for high school students. This third step in the lean ideation lifecycle is about trying to find the beginner’s mind. By being open to all of the possibilities, by seeking the contribution of all voices, lean ideation offers the greatest opportunity to seek the best result. Present Angel List (angel.co) may be the single largest collection of startups enumerated in the world at this time with over 713,098 companies represented. Not every company on angel list will become something and many businesses are in fact nothing more than nascent ideas. But - these 713,098 companies have presented themselves for all of us to consider. By doing so, they have put together profiles that include who their team is, what they are trying to do, a quick explanation of their purpose, one or more definitions of their major products as well as where to find more information about them. Every seedling idea deserves the same consideration in the lean ideation model. The point isn’t to create a business plan for the project that the idea might become, but instead to present just In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few. ~ Shunryu Suzuki
  8. 8. enough information that others can clearly understand what the idea itself might become. At a minimum, this includes the following things: • an image to provide an immediate visual representation of the idea • a single sentence definition of what idea is and what need it seeks to address • a brief description that explains the reason the need exists, the value of meeting the need and who has the need • a sentence on what makes this idea unique and how it may be different from other similar ideas • a list of existing alternatives that have also been used to meet the same or a similar need The fourth step in the lean ideation process, then, is to present as many ideas as possible that may meet the need that the idea submitted has been challenged with. Collaborate On Quora, a question was posed, “Why don't venture capitalists like investing in sole founder companies?” One answer to the question offered the following observation: The key point here for idea development is that it takes a team. Lean ideation in particular requires a team approach. No idea can be pushed quickly thru the lifecycle to its ultimate
  9. 9. culmination or discard on the back of one individual. Collaboration and peer review/ contribution is critical to this process as the fifth step in the lean ideation approach. Iterate The sixth step takes us back to where we started in lean ideation. Few ideas reach the status of “Proto-Project” without experiencing some evolution. Not “getting it right” the first time should not be perceived as a reflection of the value or merit behind the idea. Sometimes an idea just needs more support, more tending, more evolution and more exploration before it should be transitioned into active prototyping and structured development with the concurrent commitment of manpower, time and budget. Iteration takes us back to the beginning and asks us to look closely for opportunities to improve what has been delivered up to this point. There is no right answer as to how many iterations will be necessary for an idea to be ready to be “made real.” There is also no guarantee that the budget, manpower and time are going to be available at the moment when the idea is “right.” Where Do We Go From Here? So, how do we take this process “lean ideation” and make it happen systemically? We’ve seen that there are a lot of things about ideation that look like a project and also a lot of Don’t get being a sole founder mixed up with being a one man team. One person teams are a red flag because it signals a lack of ability to recruit. As a founder, one of your primary tasks is to recruit a team. ~ Quora, https://www.quora.com/Why-dont-venture- capitalists-like-investing-in-sole-founder-companies Microsoft Project Online Project & Resource Management
  10. 10. things that done. As an iterative collaborative process, ideation doesn’t fit well within a deliverable based time driven process (a project). The tools we use for project management (task lists, resource assignments, gantt charts, network diagrams, predecessor and successor relationships, budget, time, manpower) are all future needs for our seedling ideas. We need a different tool that focuses on dialog, debate, opinion, peer review, alignment of support, evaluation of alternatives and collaborative selection. We need an idea management system that addresses this shared collaborative creative mind-space rather than a system that addresses a get things done mind-space. The analogy that applies best here is that of a toolbox. In everyone’s toolbox there is usually a screwdriver and a saw. Nextinit Innovation & Idea Management
  11. 11. A screwdriver is great for getting screws into a wall in a secure way. A saw is great for resizing an object to fit the space that is available. You would never use a screwdriver to cut a piece of wood. You would never use a saw for turning a screw. The same idea applies to a project management system vs. an idea management system. The needs of one conflict with the needs of the other - one manages highly unstructured thinking, images, conversations, investment games and more while the other manages highly structured task driven activities with interdependencies between budget, time and manpower. When Do Ideas Become Projects? Once an idea has evolved and requires prototyping and testing to determine it’s capability in meeting the originating need, the idea is ready to be structured. In keeping with the lean ideation process, the same lean approach should be taken to transforming the idea into a real business, system, process, product or service. It is at this point that the idea must go through due diligence in the form of development of a project charter, creation of a budget, identification of tasks required for prototype and tasks required for testing, measuring and evaluation. Manpower must be identified, level of effort must be calculated and costs must be estimated. These are topics more for the professional practice of project management, however, and will be left to that field for further discussion.

×