Practical ways to launch your next big idea


We all hit slumps. In our personal and professional lives, challenges are inevitable. Slumps can be defined in many ways. They prevent us from being efficient, effective, and they are the enemy of innovation; they keep us from moving forward. What is difficult is finding ways around these impediments. 

Enter: prototyping– the experimental design-thinking process that helps you shift from ideas and discovery to tangible realizations.

In the world of facilitation, this is a common practice to undergo in a Design Sprint or innovation workshop. Interestingly, many companies and teams can experience road bumps and pitfalls after completing one of these experiences. Why? While most teams emerge from a Design Sprint with a prototype to implement, they often get stuck on the next-steps; how to move the project forward. 

So, what’s next? I wrote the book Beyond the Prototype to help you navigate the fuzzy area between ideas and outcomes. If you’ve ever struggled to move a key innovation project forward at work, apply the following post-prototyping practices to launch your next big idea. 

Purpose

Return to the identified purpose of your project. If you’ve completed a Design Sprint or innovation workshop, you would have chosen a purpose in the goal-setting portion of the workshop. What is the objective of bringing the idea to fruition? What will it do? Keeping your purpose top-of-mind will help you drive your idea forward. Everything you do should be from the lens of your objective; let it guide you.

People

Pinpoint the target audience and then expand your inner circle. Who else needs to be involved in the process to drive the idea/project forward? Keep in mind: Who is the product or service for? Are you meeting all of their needs? Also, decide who the right people are on your team to carry out the necessary tasks to bring this idea to life. Who will be responsible for what? Make sure each person knows their role and hold the team accountable.

Process

What systems and processes need to be in place to implement your idea and keep everyone involved on track? Start with your end result/goal and work your way backward–identify each step you need to take to reach this end result. Once the process is decided upon, make sure everyone on the team knows the ins-and-outs, what to expect, and what their roles are to carry them out successfully. 

Pro tip: build a roadmap, or a sequenced flow of things you’re going to do to achieve your outcome, to track your process. A kanban type tool like Trello is an effective way to move you forward in the process and make sure nothing falls through the cracks. 

Prep

Gather all of the information and supplies you need to carry out each step of the process. What tools will make completing tasks more efficient and effective? Collect all pieces of the puzzle before you start putting it together. 

Practical Concerns

It’s important to identify any concerns you and your team have with the project. Voicing worries upfront allows the team to share their perspective and also gives you insight into potential problems. Practical concerns are specific constraints or problems for the idea itself. For example, if the product needs to be under a certain weight, or if it needs to cost less than $5. Once you have identified the concerns, come up with solutions to each of them. If one of the problems arises, you already have a way to solve it. 

Pitfalls

Similar to practical concerns, pitfalls are any obstacles that may arise and cause problems with moving the process forward. A pitfall is anything that might blow up in your face or assumptions that are common and might trip us the team. For example, a pitfall could be that your team has a tendency to keep changing their minds and starting over, which halts the process.

Product

Finally, identify the product, or the output–the tangible thing that must be created. In other words, think about the outcomes that you are driving to. How do you need to package things up for? What’s the narrative you need to tell? What other prototypes do you need to make to gather more insights and achieve your outcome? 

Use these 7 tips to get unstuck whenever you find yourself at a project stand-still. You have the power to not only bring your idea to life but to make it a success. 

For more inspiration on how to navigate the slumps check out, check out Beyond the Prototype the book.