Something happened many years ago that fundamentally changed things for Panera Bread (back when it was French bakery Au Bon Pain). Au Bon Pain’s CEO noticed something was happening when people came in to buy their bread. Immediately after buying bread people would cut it in half, add fillings, and make their own sandwiches. One day after seeing that for the umpteenth time a light bulb went off. Bing! What if they made sandwiches in addition to their wonderful breads and sold them? They did – and things took off in a major way. Sales skyrocketed. Seems like an easy one, doesn’t it? And in hindsight it is. But you know what? It’s only easy after they paid attention to their customers’ needs and took action to become the solution.
So, now think about your business.
Awareness: You should actively be looking to spot a great idea. And so should your team. Get everyone together and let them know that you are looking for growth ideas. make sure that they know that this is part of their job – and share why it’s important.
Capture: Make sure you have an easy way for everyone to capture those ideas in a single place. And depending on your environment, that can look very different. It can be a software environment (like Slack or some other idea-sharing tool) or a spreadsheet that everyone on the team has access to. Or it can be as simple as a notebook or Post-it Notes and a pen. You should do whatever works for you and your team and fits in your workplace. Make sure you capture the idea, where it came from, and who identified it.
Apply: Set aside a time on a regular basis to go through those ideas. Once a month. Once a week. Discuss each one. Have the person who identified the idea own it, share it, and “champion’ it. (It’s good for your team to take a personal role in discussing and evaluating ideas.) Give each idea an open-hearing. Discuss each. Debate each. Prioritize the ideas that you as a team feel have the most merit. Decide on next steps for the top three. Assign someone (often the idea generator) to own and move forward with each idea. Agree to take REAL action. Implement and/or pilot test the top ideas. See what truly works.
Most of us want to grow. And most of us struggle to find those great ideas that we can pursue. So many of us are looking for something brilliant to slap us in the face. Or that we all of a sudden become super-insightful and a great idea comes forth out of nowhere. Well, what if that great idea is right in front of you today, this very minute? Would you spot it? Are you looking for it? Sometimes those great ideas are the result of a full-blown innovation strategy initiative…and sometimes they are right there just waiting (begging?) for us to notice. So what’s the best place to find that innovative new idea? It just might be right in front of you!
Please feel free to reach out and get in touch and let’s explore how I can help you and your business succeed. No pressure. Just an informal discussion to explore some ideas. You can contact me on our Contact Us page, call me at (713) 907-8429, or email me at BCohen@IDiscoverConsulting.com. I hope you are enjoying these blog posts. If so, please help spread the word. Tell others about IDiscover Consulting Group and my blog. Share these posts. Comment on them. I’d really love to hear your ideas!