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The Innovation Process
Module 2.2

Search for Ideas

Look for ideas that could form part of a solution

If you cannot find existing solutions that closely meet your design criteria, there may be ideas you can borrow from elsewhere that could form part of a solution. These ideas might themselves be at different stages of development, ranging from a thought in someone’s head to a mature solution that meets some, but not all, of your design criteria. Depending on how well-developed and well-matched an idea is, you will have to decide whether to pursue an Adaptation or Invention strategy in the next stage.

Searching for ideas can be done in many ways; however, there are two key drivers we use to inform this stage. The first is the advent of ‘open innovation’ which is a response to “the observed fact that useful knowledge today is widely distributed” (Forbes), and encourages distributed, participatory, and decentralised approaches to innovation enabled by growth of the internet. The second is the centuries-old use of ‘challenge prizes’ to inspire new developments in science and technology.

We suggest three approaches to employ in your Search for Ideas drawing on these methods. Use the design criteria that you have developed in the Recognition stage to identify what type of approach is likely to be best for you. The more specific your criteria, the more likely you are to be able to use a problem-solving platform to find mature solutions that may already be designed and piloted. The more conceptual and broader the criteria, the more likely that the best methodology will be a collaborative ideation platform.

We recognise the approaches in this module are resource-intensive and so may prove difficult for many organisations. However, although they may cost money in the form of prizes or fees, there is a strong chance they could help you save time and money overall, as well as increasing the likelihood of finding the best ideas possible.