Ideas can be a lot like babies. They don’t start off with a full-time job and as productive members of society.

If your ideas start like mine they spend most of their early days screaming and pooping. But getting an idea to an action plan is the name of the game so how do you help your ideas grow up?

I find that “IDEA-SMITHING” is an effective technique to bring ideas to action items. Where I work we start with a concept and simply beat it until it gets where it needs to go, much like a blacksmith starts with the raw material and starts the process of forming it the products intended purpose.

Working with a team makes this process powerful.

So here are a couple of tips for effective IDEA-SMITHING as a team.

1. You may need to get all the bad ideas out first.

During this phase be creative, dream big, get ambitious.  Don’t fear bad ideas, they are just one step in the process and they are easy to identify.

2. Honor input from others.

Even if they are not on the same team or same job description, odds are they their perspective will add value. And if they are willing to help and not just shoot-down ideas then you can probably use all the help you can get.

3. Be humble and don’t get entrenched.

I have to admit that sometimes I just want to keep running down a concept because it was mine and not because it was the best. You need to keep that in check (he said, talking to himself).

4. Make it happen

Now that you have formed this “uber-idea” the next steps include:

  • Work on it.
  • Keep working on it until it stops looking like ugly-sauce
  • Realize you’re almost out of time to keep working on it and KEEP WORKING ON IT
  • Then ship it. Get it out the door. Print it. Fax it (if you still live in 1993). Share it. Give it away.
  • Evaluate it.
  • Repeat.