Getting Ahead in your Job or Career With your Creative Ideas

By: Martin Mak

Do you have a great idea to can raise the bottom line of the company you work for? Such an idea could be to raise productivity, lower the cost of production or a clever idea to raise staff morale. In the past, you may have a frustrating experience when your idea was rejected or ignored. The reason could be that nobody told you "the secret". When a great idea pops into our head, the next step is to sell your idea so that others will buy into it. Here are seven important steps that you can take in that process;

1. Don't get too excited about the idea. Think it through a couple of times. It may have flaws that others can see, although they may not be apparent to you. Take time to work through the kinks. At the same time, others may not see your idea's financial rewards that you find obvious.

2. Don't get frustrated by rejection. Most great ideas face some form of rejection. You can deflect negative criticism by asking for constructive input, for instance, getting feedback to improve an idea or to overcome a hurdle.

3. Ask correct questions. Aim to understand what your managers mean by creativity and innovation. What is their "box" when they use the term "out-of-the-box"? How do they view the development of the products, processes and technology supporting them? This step is crucial in discovering "the secret".

4. Collect pertinent information. Are there technological or market trends that can help you back up your ideas? Are you aware of developments of local and foreign players in the industry? Can you provide what your customers are looking for?

5. Create many ideas. Its time to stretch your imagination to create more than two options. Use your memory and past experiences to guide you on how you can improve a situation. These are the best guides for great ideas. When you generate many options, you will get a better understanding of the different perspective and possibilities you have.

6. Choose your ideas carefully. What should your perfect solution look like? Start building a series of criteria or "must haves" to guide you to a great solution. You may wish to make a spreadsheet or chart to help you tick off the essential features of a great idea. Then give each feature some points, the more important the feature, the more points you should award.

7. Make ideas into solutions. Identify and remedy potential flaws or turn them into leverage points. The weakness of an idea can become its strength if seen from another perspective. For example, 3M's Post-It pads use a weak glue and it was a result of an unsuccessful attempt to create a strong glue for paper.

Six Great Guidelines To Creating A Great Idea

1. Start small. Think of a modest feasible improvement. You can later add on to it as you get more competent and create great benefits for your company.

2. Your knowledge bank is your resource. Keep a look out for your competitor's products and global trends to help you gather fresh insights.

3. Persevere and persuade. This is the toughest part of the process. You need to be a great sales person to sell your idea. That means communicating the calculated risks, the testing period and monitoring the milestone of progress. Remember never to sell an idea purely on excitement.

4. Do not succumb to the fear within. All novel ideas have an element of risk. We all have an inner fear that tell us that it won't work or we're opening ourselves to ridicule. As Einstein once said, "If the idea is not absurd at first, there is no hope for it". The process of making sense or connecting an idea to reality is a separate one.

5. All great ideas have their own time. Some of them may flourish at a later date.

6. Learn from your mistakes. Don't be afraid of making mistakes. There are valuable lessons to be learn from them. You can apply these lessons in future innovative initiatives.

All great ideas take time to nurture. Your memory is the storehouse of your creative genius that you can use to create great ideas. Remember to value other people's perspective. With that, you will enable the company to see the possibilities of new business models and markets or even to re-define the industry.

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