Scouting and finding ideas

Scouting and finding ideas

Often the best ideas are solutions are inspired by everyday things around us.   This article discusses how to be more purposeful in growing ideas from surrounding ecosystem through scouting and finding.

If your company is looking for innovative solutions or “breakthrough” thinking, you sometimes need to get fresh perspectives on the situation.  Consider including some of the following:

  • Research Bureaus such as Gartner, Forrester, Mckenzie, Accenture, etc…  If your company has a contract with them, see if you can get a seat license.  Otherwise, you will likely have to pay a few thousand dollars for some of their main reports.
    • Pros:  Expert opinions, historical context, broad analysis, cross references, unbiased observations
    • Cons:  Shallow understanding of your business model,  second-hand knowledge in many cases, relevancy
  • Scouting Networks are  helpful in finding ideas that are being implemented elsewhere.  You may not be the originator of the idea, but scouts may help you find a transplant that can drive value for your company.  Scouts will either need to get paid through finders fees or agent fees.  I.e.  They either represent you or the outside company.  Getting them up to speed on what is most important to you is the biggest challenge in either case.
    • Pros: Crowd-sourced, economical, industry wide coverage, quality of finding improves over time
    • Cons: Scouts often have conflicts of interests, steep learning curve to get them up to speed with your organizational need,
  • Primary Research is the most authoritative way to build data around a proposed decision.  This requires knowledge of statistics and other research methodologies. Basically, you would create a survey instrument that produces a dataset that highlights a particular pattern that becomes the basis of your idea recommendation.
    • Pros: Robust support for you idea, replaceable
    • Cons: Steep learning curve, hard to predetermine  the data needed, may not actually support your idea when it’s said and done.
  • Communities are starting to form around innovation topics.  Crowd-funding sites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, etc., and designers for hire like Red Clay and IDEO are constantly developing random solutions that just may be game changers for your company.
    • Pros: Inexpensive, creative, inspirational
    • Cons: Random, relatively immature ideas.


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