I learned a great lesson from my two-year-old daughter the other day. We were putting a puzzle together, and she was frustrated because the piece she had in her hand didn’t work.
I started thinking that this happens to us a lot in our innovation efforts. We have a great idea and we really want it to be successful. But often it is not. The experience with my daughter taught me two things:
1. Is this the right puzzle piece for the moment and context I am in?
So many times we have a great puzzle piece, but the other pieces needed to connect it to the puzzle aren’t there yet. We often don’t take the time to think through the scaffolding that needs to be around us in order for our idea to work. We may have a really valuable puzzle piece in our hand, but if you don’t have the other pieces that it needs to connect to, it is not valuable YET. We will first need to find the other pieces of the puzzle, the scaffolding, It could be that that scaffolding already exists in a different industry, or a different market, which will make it easier to connect our valuable puzzle piece.
2. Is this the right combination to make it work?
So many times we do have the right pieces of the puzzle, but we don’t rotate them around to make them fit correctly. We often don’t make an effort to tweak the combination to make our idea work. Maybe it’s a different positioning, or a different pricing, or a different customer, or even a different look and feel for the same product, but those things make a big difference.