Ideas Are Not Business Plans

There’s a motto that hangs in one of my favorite entrepreneur’s offices: “Sometimes done is better than perfect.” It’s apparently a throwback to Facebook (circa 2010) where it was painted on their walls. It’s a sentiment that I tend to agree with – spending time in infinite meetings, achieving middle-of-the-road consensus doesn’t always produce a better product (and sometimes it takes so long to become perfect you realize that you’ve missed the train entirely). However, I think it’s also important to realize that there’s a long road between the point of inspiration and the point of delivery.

When innovation programs introduce an open ideation component to their brainstorming process, great ideas from the obvious to the awesome emerge. Small communities form around those ideas as people vote those ideas up (or down) and volunteer to be a part of realizing them. However, when it comes to implementing ideas that make sense and align to business goals – it is important to take those ideas and ask some probing questions to get to the heart of that idea’s value proposition.

Consultants and businesses have developed numerous methods to help make those ideas into something more actionable and robust. Something that new products and lines of business can develop from. One of those methodologies is CO-STAR that was created The Enterprise Development Group (a team of expert thinkers, facilitators and trainers who have been consulting since 1986).  It is a line of thinking that helps idea authors and teams around ideas answer important questions about a potential new direction. The template helps teams answer: Will the idea be relevant to a customer? Will there be a market for it? What kind of returns can be expected?

This method has been utilized by companies like BBC, Johnson & Johnson, Kaiser Permanente, Panasonic, Panera Bread, and others. They’re giving a talk about the concept and how it was applied at the BBC on October 21st at 9 a.m. PST. Feel free to register for this complimentary webinar today.

So how do you identify significant new opportunities to create compelling customer value?

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Jessica DayJessica Day is a marketing and technology writer and editor for IdeaScale. She received her Masters in Writing from the University of Washington. Day also blogs about crowd-based innovation and idea management solutions at

Jessica Day




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