Ideation CPR – how to stop thinking and start doing

 “Welcome new ideas, but don’t let them all move in” ~ Anonymous

Ideas are seductive.  They move us beyond what we know to consider what might be. They allow us to tap our inner genius as we explore possibilities without limits.

Ideas can frustrate.  They remind us how much we don’t know.  They force us to admit that there are things we simply cannot (or will not) do.  They lead us to invest time, energy, and money going down paths that sometimes end up going nowhere.

Ideas have power.  They reveal solutions to problems—those that we’ve been wrestling with, those that we don’t even know we have, and those that have not yet emerged.

Ideation is the process of coming up with ideas, and it is an important part of the day-to-day conversations of every business leader. Ideation stimulates discussion and debate and leads to better decisions.  It creates visions of the future. It engages people in solving problems.

From my perspective, ideation is the lifeblood of the modern organization.  The flexibility that drives business results rests firmly on a foundation of effective ideation much the way that our cardio-pulmonary system keeps us alive. That’s why every business leader needs to learn Ideation CPR.

Here’s how it works.

  • Capture and Clarify—Successful leaders I’ve worked with over the years have all had a tool they used to capture their ideas.  For some it’s file cards, for others it’s a note on their smartphone, and many use a voice-recording tool. Next, they systematically clarify ideas using a framework that helps them focus their thinking, such as:  a list of criteria that the idea must meet to merit further attention, questions designed to determine whether the idea has immediate or future value, and a process for vetting the ideas with others.
  • Process and Prioritize—Once you have a set of ideas you need to process them.  Consider applying the “5Ws and one H” approach by asking Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How questions regarding each of the ideas on your list.  This processing will help reveal which ideas merit your current attention, which ones should be saved for later, and which ones should be ignored for now. From there you can prioritize—choose the ideas that deserve your current attention and put them in the order you want to tackle them.
  • Remove and Revise—Nothing is more important in Ideation CPR than deciding what you are not going to do and which ideas you are not going to pursue.  Be aggressive in removing the ideas that don’t fit.  This sets the stage for defining action steps that will support implementation of the ideas that have bubbled to the top of the list.  The goal is to narrow the choices, choose the best ideas for action, and bring closure to the process so that you don’t keep returning to the same idea.

When you let the Ideation CPR process work, it will help your business thrive and you won’t get bogged down with too many possibilities!

Michael Hudson

Michael Hudson

Dr. Michael Hudson started his first business when he was just 7 years old...riding his bicycle from house to house selling greeting cards and holiday gifts. Since then he ... Web: Details