There are few areas in life where half-baked ideas are acceptable. Innovation is one of them.

The majority of real innovative ideas start off as half-baked ideas because enterprises took the time to listen and “cook” them.

Ideas that are offered in the innovation process are rarely complete. The purpose is to get as many ideas as we can. Quantity will yield quality.

Hundreds of innovation ideas

The problem with half-baked ideas is that many people want to shoot them down before they’re fully “cooked.” Developmental thinking says you have to recognize that you only have a half-baked idea and encourage other people to build on it to make it complete.

In brainstorming sessions, we tell clients that the more ideas they have, the more likely they are to have a good one that could go-to-market effectively. We aim for 200 to 300 ideas, focusing on those with the most potential.

During this process, you won’t get a fully developed idea because you’ll need to build a business case or prototype around it. If you come out of an innovation session with an idea that’s 85% developed, then that’s pretty good.

Take the listening tour

The next step is equally important. I call it the listening tour. It’s when you present the idea to as many people as you can to see how to make it complete. The key is to acknowledge that the idea has holes and gaps and you need your internal people, suppliers, or customers to suggest how to fill them.

When you have the attention of all of the important people who can make this idea successful, it’s no longer half-baked — it’s ready to serve.

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