This step of the innovation process could easily be called the ‘Bermuda Triangle of Innovation’. It is at this point where organisations frequently lose their way and good ideas simply vanish. Where the ideation step is typified by creativity and high energy the elaboration step is complex, confusing and hard work. It is during this step that the idea needs to take shape, it needs to transition from a creative idea into a business concept. At this point the enthusiasm for the idea often drops as the reality of implementation starts to become clear. This is where innovation meets business, or as one innovation consultancy put it “where the magic meets the money”.
Navigating this step requires more traditional management techniques. At the end of this step you should have something that you can commit to, understanding the path to market, the cost and effort to get there and the benefits that will result. If this sounds like a business case that is because it is exactly what it is. You are about to commit capital (financial and human capital) to your idea and it is important that it can stand up to challenge.
The most common model applied to innovation business cases is the feasibility, desirability and affordability model developed by IDEO.
While the business case is critical it is also important that the idea is tested (part of feasibility). The use of prototypes at this stage is critical. These prototypes can be paper based or physical. They are part of the learning process and should be used to identify and reduce risks associated with the idea.
In making the transition from the creative ideation activities to the elaboration of ideas it is critical that structure is introduced. Structure ensures that all the bases are covered and that the thinking is both comprehensive and complete.
It is during this step that the value of Deloitte really comes to the fore. Our strength is in business and financial management. We are trusted by boards, executives and owner operators for the sound financial and management advice we provide. We really start hitting our straps when other innovation consultancies are walking off the job leaving their clients wondering what to do next.