3 Steps to Take an Idea to Implementation

At company retreats or conferences, executives and agency principals get to step out of their day-to day work and really get their creative juices flowing. So many brilliant ideas are born, but once everyone is back in the office, the challenge is in implementing them. Here are three steps to take a great idea and put it to work.

  1. Define the problem

What are you solving for? What is the issue and the impact on the business?

State the problem as a performance issue. Quantify how extensive the problem is and what specific standard is not being met.  For example, “The 24 hour turnaround time target for quotes is not being met at least 90% of the time”.

  1. Use root cause analysis to examine why the problem is occurring

If quote turnaround times are too long, for example, is it because the staff is submitting incomplete information to the carrier, or is it because the underwriter is taking too long to respond? Is there an issue with the process design, such as duplicate data entry?  Determine why the problem is happening.

  1. Identify countermeasures and create a project charter

Once you know problem causes, determine what needs to be changed to fix the problem. Draft a project charter and include each of the below elements.  This will allow everyone involved to stay aligned on project scope and outcomes.

  • The problem statement
  • What is in and out of scope
  • The objectives/goals
  • Measures of success
  • Key milestones and/or deliverables
  • Senior leader that supports/sponsors the project and allocates the resources
  • Project lead and the team doing the work

It is important to ensure that you get buy-in from other teams who may be impacted by your project. Throughout the project, keep your stakeholders informed of the project status.  Share project results with your team, so they can see how ideas, once implemented, are affecting change and garnering positive results.