On this week’s show, we will wrap up the series of shows on the innovation framework known as FIRE. We will discuss the part of the innovation framework known as execution. Execution is composed of making your best ideas into something real.
I have used the FIRE (Focus, Ideation, Ranking, Execution) framework for more than 20 years, and thousands of organizations use it. Focus is defining where your problem area is. Ideation is the process of creating ideas to address your problem areas. The process consists of individual and team ideation, which, when combined, generates 30% more ideas than when done individually. Ranking is where you prioritize your ideas. This process is through dot/wow voting and criteria ranking.
Execution, the last element of the FIRE framework, is how one turns ideas into innovation. Done through two phases; it involves testing and validation and launching the MVP (Minimum viable product). Execution is not easy. 92% of CEOs say innovation is critical to their organization, but only 35% of them have confidence in executing these ideas.
What to Expect
In my opinion, innovation consists of ideas made real. One quote I repeat all the time is, “ideas without execution are a hobby, and I’m not in the hobby business.” At this point, you’ve ranked your ideas, but need to figure out how to make these ideas a real innovation. Going into this, you won’t know all of the answers. Expect a very messy process because there might not be a clear path from point A to point B.
It would help if you were adaptable and ready to learn things. It would be best if you innovated around the idea frequently. Be ok with an unexpected outcome, as it is an experiment. Innovation projects have to be measured differently than a typical product development project. One of the measurements of success is learning throughout the process. Stay away from innovation antibodies. Innovation causes conflict, prompting these antibodies to come out. These include ego response (stepping on someone’s toes), fatigue (people who have tried and failed at it before), no risk response (CFO or legal counsel), comfort response (we don’t need to change).
Steps of Execution
The first step to making an idea real is creating the pitch. The pitch is your way to tell the story around your idea, also known as strategic storytelling. The key is to tell your idea’s story so that they see what life will be like when your idea is delivered.
The second step is to create the funnel. There are four funnel gates: market validation, customer validation, limited launch, and global launch. The key here is to convey the point that not all the ideas will go forward. Market validation is where you ask if the problem exists. One way to do this is through gorilla idea validation. Talk to people you don’t know to get brutally honest feedback rather than people you know, who might tell you what you want to hear. Customer validation is where you see if your idea solves the customer’s problem.
I use the Michelle test. I would take a product we built at HP and bring it home and leave it on the counter for my wife. She would take it out of the box and use it, giving it her honest evaluation. My wife is not a technology person to receive some solid feedback from a different perspective.
A limited launch is where you launch in a limited space. I use the buy test to build a product and advertise it, putting it into retail stores like a real launch. When people try to buy it, you give it to them for free in return for their feedback. Global launch is where you put your pedal to the medal and push the product out. At this point, you’ve gone through all of the steps and should have confidence in your product’s success.
This week’s show focused on taking all of your ideas and making them real. Many innovators have great ideas but struggle to find funding. There could be an issue with their pitch. Learn and readjust the pitch, and understand all of the elements that go into it.
When Steve Jobs and Apple worked on the iPhone, the product was ready three years before the launch. They knew that they needed to wait to get a faster processor and another generation of touch screens. They had the discipline and patience to wait, which paid off in the long run.
I use the lean canvas to help me and my team stay on track and stay focused. The innovation lean canvas is in place of a typical plan. It is an overview of the critical areas at a glance, which frequently updates as the product evolves. We will discuss the lean canvas in a further episode of the show, so stay tuned.
Check out the Disruptive Ideation Workshop here to teach your team the FIRE framework.
If you are interested in learning more about execution or want information from previous shows, check out all the free downloadable material I put together here.
To know more about ranking and prioritizing the best ideas, listen to this week’s show: Execution – Turning Ideas Into Innovations.
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