Ideas are the core of innovation. To drive innovative change, you must continue to generate idea after idea after idea.
And I don't just mean if you're looking to be the next Elon Musk. Never stop generating ideas about whatever it is you do and within your company, too. It's just as valuable to become an intrapreneur as it is to be an entrepreneur.
The best way to innovate? Come up with a bucket of ideas.
They don't have to be urgent, or need to act on them right away. Instead, save them for a rainy day. I keep all my ideas in a special Trello list and they range from "Things I probably should be doing," like putting together testimonials for social proof on our website to the "this is random but could be awesome" like putting together an Instagram series on employee pets.
Yup, #petsoflitmus is officially a thing, right out of the random pile.
Set aside time to brainstorm.
Some of us are a million-ideas-a-minute people. I have trouble putting my ideas in writing because my brain is too busy coming up with the next one. Coming up with ideas is a great first step; the second is coming up with ideas cohesive enough to be explored further.
Related: Never Stop Brainstorming
For that, I set aside specific time to brainstorm and give myself some guidelines. As Remi Parmentier noted at #LitmusLive, "Constraints drive creativity."
In your brainstorming session, give yourself some loose guidelines. Think of them as the safety bumpers kids (and ok, me) use when learning to bowl. It keeps the bowling ball rolling towards the pins. For me, that will often be something like, "Ok, today I'm going to brainstorm about content for the Litmus blog," or "I want to solve the problem: what kind of initiatives can help us retain our customers?"
Make time to refer back to those ideas...and execute
Now that you've set aside time to generate those amazing ideas, you have to choose the ones to take to the next step. Take a few days (or weeks, or months) away from the list and check back in periodically. Does anything still grab you?
Otherwise, start to sort your ideas by asking two key questions: how much will it impact the business? How easy is it to execute?
Once you've sorted your ideas, you can easily see what's worth pursuing...and what should be left off the table.
Just remember, that just because it's in one quadrant doesn't mean that will change a month or six months or a year from now. You may not have the resources to pull it off yet, but may soon, or it may seem easy to do now, but once you start looking into it, it turns into something much more complicated.
You won't know until you try.