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15 January '15 | Ralf Reich

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14 January '15 | Manesh Rajendran

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13 January '15 | Anil Gandharve

The New Omnichannel Dynamic: Finding Core Principles Across Industries

13 January '15 | Debjyoti Paul

Technology does not disrupt business – CIO day 2014 Roundup

02 December '14 | Anshuman Singh

Apple Pay – The Best Is Yet To Come

02 December '14 | Indy Sawhney

Digital transformation is a business transformation enabled by technology

01 December '14 | Amit Varma

3 Stages of FATCA Testing and Quality Assurance

06 October '14 | Raman Suprajarama

3 Reasons why Apple Pay could dominate the payments space

18 September '14 | Gaurav Johri

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05 August '14 | Debjyoti Paul

The Dos and Don’ts of Emerging Technologies Like iBeacon

30 July '14 | Debjyoti Paul

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17 July '14 | Anshuman Singh

3 Steps to Getting Started with Microsoft Azure Cloud Services

04 June '14 | Koushik Ramani

8 Steps to Building a Successful Self Service Portal

03 June '14 | Giridhar LV

Innovation outsourced – a myth or a mirage or a truth staring at us?

13 January '14 | Ramesh Hosahalli

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03 January '14 | Gopikrishna Aravindan

Innovation: How Ideas do a dance together to form a concept

Posted on: 16 November '10


Do you find that making a choice for say, a piece of apparel, takes a long time? After your choice, you still are not sure if you made the right choice? The biggest problem that always comes up once we have a list of choices is the laborious process of selection. The same applies to ideas as well.

Selection usually involves a bunch of experts looking at the ideas under a microscope (told you, I am a former electron microscopist) and deciding which ones to take and which ones to leave. There are methods to help these experts like Implementation-payoff matrix, competitor jealousy, $100 method. The list goes on… I have always had this doubt in my mind that after we choose an idea, “Did we really make the right choice? What if the other seemingly weak idea was better than this?” I asked this question to Ellen Domb, when she visited Mindtree about a couple of months ago. Her answer was Pugh Matrix and merge ideas, so in effect, a modified Pugh Matrix. What is Pugh matrix? It is a matrix with customer expectations on one side and all the ideas on another. You just list down in the intersection, if the idea satisfies, doesn’t satisfy or exceeds expectations. Similar to an organization’s appraisal system 🙂 Then, Ellen’s idea was to merge all the ideas that work and evolve a concept.

Although, this method appealed to me, I thought of my audience and wondered what their reaction would be? “Oh man, another name, another method, another activity”. So one step to achieving Innovation Nirvana is to eliminate steps and so I did eliminate Pugh Matrix. What we ended up with was forcing all ideas into a ball room and ask them all to dance to one tune. What you will get is not an ensemble, but a chaotic mess of dissimilar ideas, utter confusion. From confusion and chaos is born a concept, pure at heart and new to the world. The new concept has DNA from her parents, learnings from the past and fresh to the environment. This is actually a concept from nature, if you get my drift. We get so many variations in life forms, even though they come from finite matter on the earth.

Give me an example, is what I hear from you now. Ok, I’ll entertain you, dear reader. How do I utilize my commute time effectively?

Idea 1: I read books
Idea 2: I listen to music
Idea 3: Catch up on sleep
Idea 4: Talk to my buddies

Concept = Idea 1 + Idea 2 + Idea 3 + Idea 4

Concept 1: I will talk to buddies about music that I like, books that I’ve read and the sleep that I need to catch upon
Concept 2: I can read books about effective listening, maintaining effective sleep patterns and how to socialize
Concept 3: I listen to audio books or musicals, while catching a wink and will later talk to my friends on their views on this
Quite easy, if you ask me. The challenge comes when you have many more ideas and merging them can become tricky. Also, if you notice the concepts, the core starting idea dictates how a concept is going to evolve.

A Pixar movie has close to 1400-1500 ideas in them, I believe. How come there is no mindboggling concept in my list, even though nature has so many geniuses in her variations? Well, add some quirky ideas in there and watch the fun. In our case, I could say “I want to do Yoga” is that quirky idea. I will keep my iPod or cell phone down and bend over to reach the device to listen to audio books/musicals and … you get the drift.

How do you practice this? Simple, write down all ideas that come to your mind. Usually, these are the ones that you have come up with already or you’ve heard them before.

How do you breathe practicality in to the concept? In our analogy, how do we teach the baby ways of the world? Wait for the next exciting episode!

  • I like the metaphor of letting the ideas dance together, but not what happens at the extreme of DNA’s dance in nature — most ideas fail and die, after the “parents” have invested a lot in their success. The Pugh matrix prevents many of those deaths by only letting the strongest (most customer-focused) ideas dance!

  • CNA Training

    I’ve recently started a blog, the information you provide on this site has helped me tremendously. Thank you for all of your time & work.

  • Ellen,
    There are 2 observations I have had after using this technique in our workshops.

    1. Ideas, when combined, metamorphise (not just merely dance together) into something very new. So the weak ideas have parental/sibling support.
    2. The loop holes or pitfalls are set right in the next step – Ritual Dissent, where every body talks about how all idea can fail. we do atleast 2 rounds of dissent before it is passed on for prototyping.

    Thanks
    Bala

  • Hi,
    it will be great if you can share the link to your blog, so that I can learn from you as well.

    Thanks
    Bala