Many people assume that creating new ideas is the beginning of the innovation process, but actually that’s not true. The innovation process includes a wide range of activities implemented from the genesis of the initial idea through its realization. This involves research and development, industrial-legal protection, launches of production and ultimately use of those products -in practice.
In the quest for innovation many ideas at the input stage may not come to life at the output stage; so people readily visualize the innovation process as a funnel: lots of ideas come in at the beginning and a few finished innovations come to market from the narrow end.
Ideas are indeed the seeds of innovation, just as ore taken from the ground is the raw material of steel, or waving fields of wheat provide the raw material for bread. But it takes a lot of work to mine the raw ore and transform it into steel, or to prepare the fields to grow the wheat long before it becomes bread. It’s the same with our process; we don’t start by collecting raw ideas, instead we know that innovation is a core element of our mission, so we have to start with strategic thinking to assure that the outputs of innovation are fully aligned with our strategic intent.