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From Idea to Innovation: How to Turn a Good Idea into An Amazing Project

So many good ideas never make it into the real world, or even out of their creators’ heads. Here’s how to make sure yours actually happen
by Tom Anderson | Jan 5 2015

Meet Stan. Stan’s solved world hunger, saved his company thousands, and most recently, he’s developed a game-changing app that imbues the average iPhone with all of the properties of Doctor Who’s sonic screwdriver.


Well, at least in theory, he has.

Though the human mind was made to solve complex problems, it’s next to useless at bringing them out of the realm of fantasy. That is, unless you have a plan. In Making Ideas Happen, entrepreneur and productivity expert Scott Belsky offers a simple framework that ensures your great ideas, no matter what they are, become real projects with a chance of succeeding. They’re simple, easy, and guaranteed to get you on your way.

1. Develop action steps

  • What: These are the specific tasks that must be completed for the idea to become a reality.
  • Example: Let’s imagine that you have a great idea which will make your company’s sales pitches really stand out. Action steps here could be “Craft an outline of the pitch to show boss” or “Ask the tech team what visuals are possible.”
  • Why: Having concrete, achievable, small-step goals starts the ball rolling so you have no excuse to stall.
  • Note: Ideally, each of these actionable steps should start with a verb, making them easy and simple to follow.

2. Organize your references

  • What: References are pieces of information relevant to your project.
  • Example: Returning to that pitch idea, they could include an analysis of the pitches of your competitors, or feedback from your company’s previous ones.
  • Why: By marking such information as references, you ensure that it’s available when you need it and keep it separate from the vital action steps you need to move your project forward.

3. Separate your backburner item

  • What: As you refine your idea, you will start to develop more plans about how to develop it in the future. The steps it takes to make this progress are your backburner items – or things you want to do, but only when you have time.
  • Example: For example, you might think it a great idea to scale your pitch idea up to become a fully fledged business in its own right; you might even think you should make this an action step.
  • Note: While you are developing the format of your pitch idea, do you really have the time to think about setting up a business? Probably not, so in order to prevent yourself from being overloaded with too many action steps, out it on the backburner.

Now, no excuses for letting those amazing ideas die of loneliness in your head! Take this 3 step plan, fire up Evernote or grab a sheet of paper, and start making your lists.

Learn more about how to make great ideas into profitable realities in Scott Belsky’s Making Ideas Happen, or check out the summary on Blinkist.

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