We are two years old! Here's a quick recap of some of our personal learning from the past couple of years.
Think Big Start Small
Some of our concepts have hit a wall because we let them get too complicated. It’s easy to talk yourself out of doing anything. If people wait for perfection before they put an idea to work, it will stall before it gets off the ground.
Avoid solutions in search of a problem
We all have lots of ideas every day. Our starting point in the Lab is always: What’s the problem we are trying to fix here? We’ve learnt to be pretty brutal when assessing whether it’s a problem or not.
Every problem is an opportunity
We’ve learnt never to think of problems as a negative.If you view all problems as opportunities, then think about ways to re-imagine a process… you’ll find opportunity is absolutely everywhere.
Don't keep talking about it - try it
Most of us can’t tell if we like something or not by reading about it in a report. We need to see it, feel it and experience it. That’s why the Lab focuses on what we call ‘tests’. Tests are typically time-limited, minimal resource and therefore low risk. The whole principle is to get things in front of people as soon as possible to reduce spending time and money on potential failures.
A quick fail beats a slow steady death
Nobody wants things to fail, but the reality is that many projects fail to meet their intended objectives. Bromford want to avoid this by failing things as soon as possible, building early evidence that what we are trying out stands a good chance of success.
Innovation is about impact not ideas
The Lab works closely with our Insight team to make sure that we have some proof that what we are working on makes a difference. It’s easy for any of us to tell a good story, but far harder to back that up with evidence.
Creativity is intelligence having fun
Our lab approach is deliberately fun as we believe we shouldn’t take things too seriously all of the time. A lot of colleagues we work with will say “I’m not creative” and then come out with the most amazing idea, simply because they relax. It’s a common belief that the best innovators are extroverts - but the opposite is almost always true.
The answers are often at the centre of the network
Many companies continue to assume that innovation comes from the lone genius. In fact , most innovations are created through connections, and that will include the ones outside your organisation. Having an active social network makes your job a lot easier. It also means you are not duplicating what someone is already working on.
Fast failure is good risk management
The biggest barrier in most organisations is risk aversion – so anticipate this in advance. Show that you acknowledge risk and have put as much cotton wool around your idea as possible. Governance teams can be your greatest enemies or biggest friends.
Be ruthless pulling the plug
Not every idea or project is destined for success. Stopping a project is a difficult decision but in certain cases, it’s inevitable. Making things work artificially is not always in the interests of the customer or the company. You need to know when to pull the plug early to avoid spending more money on well-intentioned vanity projects.
And a bonus one....
Challenge everything you currently do
It’s a contractual obligation of an Innovation Team to ask the really stupid questions. Would we honestly do it this way if we started again?
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