Idea refinement – an example

April 3, 2019

By Christine Oljelund

My example about idea refinement comes from a problem I have been working with in my job. A group of employees came to me to solve a problem. First we worked with the actual problem and described it before asking co-workers to help solving it. The problem was described at a web-page where employees can give and edit ideas to meet the problem. All ideas are open. It´s possible wo build on each others ideas.

At the same time the group listed all the stakeholders that were connected directly or indirectly with the problem. All the stakeholders were interviewed to find out their needs regarding the problem. They were also asked to list all things that would be nice to have solved too. The stakeholders included the end user (s).

All suggestions from co-workers combined with the stakeholders need to have and nice to have were processed in the group with experts such as IT-experts, communcation and HR. The ideas were refined in an iterative process and interviews with end-users performed during the process. One solution is now being tested with a few employees to see if it will meet the problem. After evaluation it will probably be altered again and further tested or if successfull be the new way to do this task. Fingers crossed we will have a new process fully implemented this year.

This way of solving problems is time consuming but in every way worth the time as the solution will actually solve the problem and it will be tested before implemented. This will save other employees to adapt to new processes before they actually work. A lot of teething problems can also be eliminated before a new way of doing a task is fully implemented.

2 responses to “Idea refinement – an example

  1. Interesting to read, thank you for sharing!

    What struck me was the last paragraph about the time needed to work as structured as you describe. From what I understand it seems that “your” project already had a green light (regardless of how the ideas were refined) i.e. you already had a clear vision/goal formulation?

    How is this done in other innovation efforts, in which ideas have not already been selected to be further developed?

  2. Yes, the project had a green light from the management, as it needed be sorted. The way to sort it was open. We don’t work with ideas unless they benefit the end user or employees – so the priority is about the importance of the problem for customers or employees.

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