Thursday, May 29, 2008

Profiting from Great Ideas: The Grand Conundrum

History is full of stories and characters that can be used for our current benefit. It is not uncommon for Executives, Politicians, or Teachers to quote from the likes of Socrates, Confucius, or Lincoln. One such historical figure that I will use for the sake of this entry is the great Heron of Alexandria.

Heron was born during a time when the golden ages of Greece and Rome were at full shine and he lived in a place, Alexandria, which offered fertile soil to the best ideas of the age. So with his natural curiosity and tenacity he set about uncovering some of the most ground breaking ideas and inventions of antiquity. Historians credit him with the invention of the syringe, force pump, wind wheel, and even steam engine.

It is said that his work on that steam engine was on the cusp of igniting the industrial age almost 1,700 years before it took place. Just think about how differently western history would have unfolded if this took place! What if someone would have given deeper thought to how the steam engine could be applied in more practical settings? But instead, his brilliant ideas were regarded at the time as novelties reserved for the theatre or amusement.

Now for the business corollary….

In order for ground breaking changes, program, products, or innovations to take place there needs to be two principle things. First, there needs to a properly formulated idea that can address a need or challenge facing the company or its customers. Second, once the idea has been validated it needs to be executed. In other words it needs to be transformed into something tangible that can affect the bottom line and keep the CFO at bay. Otherwise it will suffer the same fate of Heron’s steam engine and remain nothing more then a vague novelty that benefits few.

So first, good ideas need to be generated. We’ve all heard about the term ideation and we are all instructed to ‘think outside of the box’. We try but do we reap any benefits? A good ideation event should allow for all ideas, even hair brained ideas, to be considered. They should involve a wide range of people and even provide ample room for customer input. They should also come with a clear road map. People are more inclined to think when they are confident that their ideas will have an impact.

Secondly, lets move on to the road map. You need a blue print that turns your steam contraption into the steam engine that can ignite the industrial revolution. You need to clearly define who is in charge of the commercialization of these ideas. You need to make them responsible for the process but you also need to give them the necessary support and resources to succeed. Many great ideas have died on the vine because there was incomplete ‘buy in’ or because resources were held back. This is the difference between a corporate exercise in futility and a corporate driven at excellence.

Overview of Lacuna Services

As the website mentions, Lacuna Strategic Marketing Services offers a wide range of services that cover the myriad needs faced by marketing professionals who face budgetary constraints.

This presentation offers a little more detail on what is offered.

A Warm Welcome

Greetings and welcome to our little corner of the web! The aim of the Marketing Oracle is to provide concise, insightful, and regular messages and learnings to professionals who are looking to refine and grow the marketing operations within their organizations. These messages can help all firms, large and small, and will be provided by members of Lacuna Strategic Marketing Consulting as well as its strategic partners.

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