Breakthrough genius can happen at any time and to anyone. Usually, it starts with a “What if” question and ends with the pronouncement, “I think I have a business idea here.”
These revelations are just reactions to problems and at best can be valued as the musings of a philosopher. As my old and learned friend Edward Herbert Sear, who has his Ph.D. in Philosophy but who made his fortune running service stations, said, “The process goes like this:
First, you need the Philosopher to see patterns and pontificate on the value of solving them.
Next, you need the Scientist to prove or disprove that the idea can work in a controlled laboratory setting.
Then you need a Businessperson who will tell you what the real world thinks of your idea and tell you exactly what it must achieve to gain commercial success.
Then comes the Engineer to build the final product and ensure it will work to user needs or performance specifications.
Finally, you need the Entrepreneur, who will focus on the production and delivery of the consumer-oriented product or service.”
Edward, after a couple of glasses of wine, would then say, “and by the way, make sure that those who develop the idea only do that, those that prove the science only do that and the one responsible for giving me a return on my investment only does that.”
At each step of this product evolution ladder, we must make assumptions about our current situation and predictions about future outcomes.
Assumptions are the basis of creative problem-solving. Assumptions are hypotheses, which need to be proven or refuted. These are what your venture will be constructed upon.
So how do you create situation assessments and assumptions? Challenge 10 will provide you with a full question list featured in i2p's bestselling book, Ideas 2 Profit.
Secure your copy of i2p today! View List of Downloadable Challenges
Assumptions, in the end, will be the customer benefit statements that are the key to your venture’s success.
To put a value on making assumptions, consider this:
When you make an assumption, you unleash your inspiration.
When you unleash your inspiration, you can ignite the determination needed to turn ideas into projects, projects into real opportunities and opportunities into profitable ventures.
Once the determination is there, the assumptions become the fuel of your planning process.
When you refine and prove your assumptions, you have the information you need to show that you understand what your consumers want.
With defined and refined assumptions, you will know what skills and resources are needed to service those wants.
Now you can make claims for a value exchange that will appeal to your consumers’ needs over alternative solutions.
As the leader of an enterprise, no matter its size, innovation only happens when you are open about the challenges you are facing. Leaders of progressive ventures celebrate every achievement along the way. You can recognize astute leaders because they:
Acknowledge the person who inspired the initial ideas.
Credit those who have seized opportunities to improve and implement the idea.
Reward every effort.
Rewards for success are easy but must be given.
The reward for failures must be positive and must demonstrate the
value of the learning opportunity.
Create assumptions based on customer interactions and team collaborative intelligence.
Realize their team usually knows more about processes, customer relationship status and customer needs than they do.
Poll their customers constantly to understand how effective their relationship is and what will make it stronger.
Develop strategies to optimize opportunities for growth gained through the gathering of market intelligence.
So how do you create situation assessments and assumptions? You will find a full question list in our bestselling book Ideas 2 Profit.
Progressive ventures are filled with teams who are not afraid to ask, “What if?” Leaders of growth-oriented organizations are not afraid to provide the resources needed to see if a business case exists when a team member utters that “What if?”
Every idea is an assumption that can create collaboration. The assumption description must have three distinct parts for clarity and to stimulate interest:
First, a situation statement: “Experience has shown that when we do this, we get that effect,”
Second, the “What if we did this?” pronouncement,
And third is the “I suspect that we would see this reaction” prediction. This is the part where discretion is advised. Make sure that your prediction ends with a call for assistance. Only then have you turned your perceived problem into a project and invited others to help prove it out and move it forward.
One of the best examples of problem-solving and creating ideas/assumptions for growth or revitalization is that of Hewlett-Packard. This company started in a garage, became a business legend, and then fell into despair. Under the dynamic leadership of Dave Packard, HP rose like a phoenix from the ashes to once again be a leader in the computer industry.
How did Packard do it? Two things were his hallmark:
First, he believed in and practiced “MBWA,” or “Management by Walking Around.” Not MBWA as the reviewing of the guard by a dignitary, but rather MBWA where he stated his purpose and asked how the person, he was talking to could help deliver that outcome.
The second step was as important as the first. He listened, discussed, catalogued the information and looked for the potential to use the idea and acknowledged its author. He assumed he could create a positive change. Packard used his ideas on how to achieve change as the platform to create opportunities for his stakeholders to contribute and, in the end, he managed to grow the company. In the case of HP, the issue was how to spray the ink onto paper to create highly specific and detailed images that any computer user could afford. Today, no one who is considering buying an inkjet printer would do so without considering an HP product as part of their solution options.
Don't forget to join our mailing list to be the first to know about everything going on in the i2p community.