They came bright and early on a Saturday morning, bleary-eyed and half alert to learn how to conquer the world with their ideas. The venue – the VODW premises in Leusden – resembled something akin to an adult playground. Think: facilitator wearing crazy floral shirt, ‘workspaces’ littered with lego bricks, coloured markers, and unlimited coffee to fuel the day. They were here to take part in Deloitte’s patented “iDiscover” workshop – a process aimed at smashing your ideas apart and putting them together again perhaps with a new twist, but at least with a new perspective and a fresh energy with which to move forward.
As management consulting firms like Deloitte’s go, such workshops normally cost the price of a small car, but I’m here to spill the beans on iDiscover and spread the word (which is very much with Deloitte’s blessing, I might add – in the spirit of TED, they’re very keen on ideas worth spreading).
1. Funnel of focus
Think of a funnel, one end abstract, the other tangible. At the moment your idea sits in the middle – it’s not a reality yet, but somewhere between tangible and abstract. Tangible, detailed and specific is where your idea needs to be, obviously – that’s the real world. Abstract is about being conceptual, broad, and unlimited by real-world constraints.
Along the scale from abstract to tangible, what ideas can you put down that move your concept more towards each end? For example, if you’re aiming to create a new food product, if you moved it to abstract it might be about ‘providing a healthy option for consumers.’ If you moved it towards the tangible end, you might be ‘creating a healthy snack product aimed at women.’
- What is the problem you’re trying to solve?
- What happens if you make it more abstract or tangible?
- What happens if, say, you change your customer?
This step is about giving your idea the Spanish Inquisition – interrogation of the nation. Write down all your questions, meaning the good, the bad and the ugly. We’ll get to answering them later. This is about pure, unbridled curiosity. Put your questions down, and ask more questions of the questions. In the end, we want to group these questions in subject areas. Is it a marketing question? Is it about suppliers and sourcing? Group them. In the end, this step is a bit like research – you want to take these questions to someone who knows how to answer them. For instance, set up a session with a marketing expert so you can ask all your marketing questions, and so on.
- What questions do you want answered by an expert?
Who is important to your idea? This step is about stakeholders – the people you need to engage to make your idea a success. Often there are many, but this step is also about focus. Begin by writing all the stakeholders you can think of – ultimately we want to arrive at your top 3. Now, in order of importance, distribute 100 points between them all so it becomes clear who the top 3 are.
- Who are my stakeholders?
- What is the added value of my top 3?
- What insights do you get?
4. Visit the experts!
Now it’s time to visit the pros: people who can answer your questions and help you shape your idea to a winning concept. Focus on the following areas: Financial & legal (intellectual property, corporate governance), Identity (branding, visual identity), Marketing & strategy (communication, ecommerce) and last but definitely not least Sustainability (social impact, energy use).
Now, you’re well on your way to making your idea a success. Of course, this is a very condensed explanation of the process, but the reality is, this kind of thinking is not that complex. The iDiscover process is a helpful way to reimagine your ideas, and put you on the path to success – maybe you don’t need a consultant after all!