All ideas are worth One Million Dollars

The debate around how much ideas are worth is over.

All ideas are worth One Million Dollars.

One Million Dollars is how much we save for each idea we don’t do. We get hundreds of ideas coming at us in the form of customer feedback, customer service staff, hack days, automation and optimization suggestions, startups, partners, vendors and organically within the business. Deciding which ideas not to pursue saves us money.

Kill the bad ideas quickly.

Our first job, like Google X, is to get the smartest people in the business to help kill as many of those ideas as fast as possible. We do this by asking:

  • Is this legal?
  • Does the idea already exist in another form?
  • Is the idea feasible at the moment given available resources technology and environment?
  • What is the effort vs. potential value?
  • Does the idea have potential to create a material impact on our business
  • Does the idea focus on the customer?
  • Does the idea remove friction for the customer and improve the experience?

The balance and secret sauce is avoiding favorites and keeping ‘feasibility’ really broad. We all know that Uber, Snapchat, and AirBnB sounded ridiculous at first.

At this point, we have saved the business millions of dollars in effort, technology, marketing and maintenance costs for each idea we didn’t do. 80% of ideas drop out at this stage.

It’s about the savings.

Thinking about savings is vital as the ongoing attempts to justify Return on Innovation Investment (ROII) are necessary but hard to quantify at this early stage. Framing the innovation framework and approach to finding the next big thing regarding dollars saved works well for us.

This number adds up fast as we move through getting problem-solution fit using Pretotyping, testing product-market fit and finally doubling down on the winners. At this stage, 95% of ideas will drop out. If you have hundreds of ideas coming into your business, think of the millions of dollars you’ve saved the business.

One Million Dollars? Really?

Your number may not be one million, but there is a number that is realistic for your business. When you consider the cost of a full product lifecycle from idea to product retirement and you may be surprised at how much ideas, not done, are worth.

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