The power of small ideas

Just before Xmas I designed and facilitated a number of workshops for a communication agency.

It seemed to go quite well.

But what really fired up the team was the challenge:

What small ideas can we test in the next 30 days?

Suddenly the entire staff came alive with new ideas.

Because rather than talking about the big, game-changing ideas that were some way off in the future, we were tossing around ideas that people could instantly relate to.

The ideas the group generated were:

– small

– fast

– practical

– low cost and

– engaged everyone.

They were also low risk.

And with this small wins innovation approach there were 3 other advantages:

1. Sometimes out of a small idea, test or change a big win can emerge.

Big ideas that lead to big successes are often only obvious in retrospect.

Someone, somewhere has to try something new.

And often that is something quite small like asking people to pour cold water over their head and then donate to a charity (i.e. The Ice Bucket Challenge).

This small, simple act soon took off and went viral with millions of people watching their favourite celebrities or sports stars taking part.

But the important point is that it started small.

2. Small Wins create confidence, momentum and what Teresa Amabile calls The Progress Principle.

This means that the individual and the group feel more motivated and can then in turn perform at a higher level which creates a positive cycle of performance.

3. You can practice being innovative

Another advantage of a small wins approach to innovation is that you can practice being creative and innovative.

If you were learning to play golf for example it is intimidating to start playing in a competition.

Much better to start on the range with a few lessons from a qualified coach.

It’s much the same with innovation.

Start small.

Practice then move on to bigger ideas.

For numerous, practical examples of Small Wins Innovation click here.

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