10 ways to turn ideas into action
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
By Tara Jaye Frank
A colleague I deeply respect recently sent me an email with
something tremendously valuable inside —
a great idea. Working for Hallmark, I receive emails with ideas all the time.
But this one got me thinking about why some ideas take hold and others don’t.
Ideas are everywhere and everyone has them. (Kind of like
opinions.) But even great ideas can languish in the minds of extraordinary people,
never winning an opportunity to become something even more amazing — like lasting and far-reaching
So, I’d like to share 10 practical tips for turning ideas
1. Validate it. What
data can you find to support your idea? What’s going on in business, society,
politics or the financial sector that adds credence to it? Giving your idea a
factual foundation helps establish credibility and context.
2. Align it. How
does your idea support your or someone else’s business objectives? I’ve seen
many great ideas die because they don’t connect to what others consider
important or timely.
3. Visualize it.
How can you help people see your
idea? Is there a framework you can use or some other visual that makes it more
memorable? Seeing an idea while hearing it helps others understand and share it
4. Build upon it.
Don’t stop nurturing the seed of your idea. Be on the lookout for additional
insights or trends that make your idea more compelling than when it first
occurred to you. Use the input of others to strengthen your idea. (Remember to
give them credit.)
5. "Friend" it.
Similar to tip No. 4, what other initiatives are under way that have a direct
link to your idea? Sometimes two or more distinct ideas can come together to
make a bigger, better idea. Put the idea's potential before your need to "own" it.
6. Provoke with it.
Is your idea new and surprising? Will it cause people to think differently? The
more provocative your idea is, the more "sticky" it will be. And the more
others will adopt it, which means greater impact.
7. Humanize it.
Connect your idea to real-life experiences. How does your idea make life better
for people? How will the company or entity benefit? The best ideas enrich our
lives and change our circumstances in wonderful ways.
8. Prototype it.
Bring your idea to life. Sometimes people can't imagine a new idea; they need
to see it at work. Build it. Craft it. Shape it. Demonstrate it. Whatever is
necessary to show people that your idea works, do it!
9. Socialize it.
Ever hear a really compelling idea, only to never hear it again? The next time
this happens, encourage the person to share their idea. If you are that person,
follow some of the above steps, and share your idea. Expose it to a few people
you really respect, allow their responses to refine your thinking and begin
sharing more broadly. Great ideas spread like wildfire. (But not if you keep
them to yourself.)
10. Let it go.
Sometimes a great idea goes nowhere. Sometimes it starts as a great idea, but
gets replaced by something better. Don't be so married to your idea that you
can't tell when it's time to release it. You may come back to it. If not,
that's okay. You'll have other ideas.
So there you go. Not rocket science, but a few practical
tips for turning ideas into action.
As vice president, multicultural strategy for Hallmark
Cards Inc., Tara Jaye Frank is responsible for partnering across product
development, marketing and retail to drive growth with an increasingly diverse
consumer base. She was the youngest person in Hallmark's history to be promoted
into executive management and its first African American female vice president.
expressed in blogs, posts and user comments are those of the authors and do not
necessarily reflect the opinions of the Network of Executive Women or its
Officers, Board members and corporate partners.