Sometimes entrepreneurs and executives fail to establish guidelines for innovation because they believe that creativity is all about giving people freedom. But if you don’t specify what kind of ideas you are looking for, you’ll end up with a lot of ideas to reject. While rejecting a lot of ideas is not necessarily a bad thing, it does take up time and resources that could be used in better ways.
For better results focus on problems that are relevant to your business and overall goals. Define the type of outcome people should aim for. For example, are you looking to increase market share or improve quality or simplify a process? Give people an indication of what a “good enough” idea is – e.g., a target year-one revenue number or a required minimum percentage for improvements. Don’t forget to go over any limitations and no-go areas, and provide a time frame for creating results.