To grow a 1,000-pound pumpkin, you can throw thousands of seeds across a field and hope that one of them turns out to be a monster. With luck, one or more of the seeds may land in just the right place, at just the right time, receive just the right amount of water and escape being trampled or blown over. Experienced growers, however, take a much more disciplined and predictable approach.
First, the pros start with great seed genetics by selecting seeds from plants that have proven themselves in the past. Next, they make sure that the ground is properly prepared and the conditions that the pumpkins will be grown in are the best possible environment.
The grower plants several pumpkins and fairly quickly selects the healthiest and strongest-looking plants to be given extra special treatment. Weaker plants are taken out of the plot so they don’t take away nourishment or sun from the healthy plants. As the stronger plants grow, they are constantly attended to and given carefully measured fertilizer and water. As the plants are getting ready to bloom, they are guarded with special covers and protection is applied so that only the right plants can pollinate each other and no stray bees can come in and spoil the breed.
Once the selected plants start to bear fruit, they are further weeded out so only the biggest, healthiest and strongest plants are allowed to stay in the plot. The one or two remaining plants are given extra special care. As the fruit begins to grow, it may be injected with milk to increase its calcium level and bathed in oils to protect its skin from cracking. The pumpkins are protected from mice, woodchucks and other varmints, or kids who love to smash pumpkins, with traps and fences. Many of the extra leaves and vines from the remaining plant or plants are removed so almost all of the plant’s energy goes into the production of fruit. On a good day, the pumpkin may grow 40 or more pounds!
Launching new products and delivering new novel ideas in an organization is a lot like trying to grow a 1,000-pound pumpkin. You can generate and plant thousands of ideas and start hundreds of projects and hope that by chance one of them yields great fruit, or you can take a more disciplined approach.
Starting with good genetics, which can be found in good people with proven track records of success in innovation, you can increase your chances for success. Good soil-or a fun and energizing place to work that encourages and rewards positive creativity-will jump start growth and lead to faster and bigger fruit. Having the discipline and courage to kill the weaker ideas will also make it easier to focus on the ones with the most potential so the smaller potential ideas don’t crowd out the big ideas.
Once you have selected and focused on one or a couple of big ideas, it is important to nourish those ideas with plenty of food and resources. Remove the other ideas from your discussions until your selected big ideas are fully developed. Measure their growth on a regular basis and make sure they are given lots of attention. Let the light shine on your best ideas. Protect the ideas from varmints that want to eat them or employees who want to smash them. Put up fences or traps around your best ideas so your competition doesn’t steal them before they are ripe. Take pride in your best ideas and make sure everyone in your organization knows how important they are. Help everyone in your organization visualize what the pie they will eat when the fruit ripens will taste like.
Enjoy your harvest and look forward to another season.
About the author: Scott Francis is the president of Topline Development marketing consulting and co-founder of Snap Lab Media™, the marketer of SnapTRAC™ software as a service for advertising agencies and larger enterprises that rapidly builds mobile websites, generates QR codes and provides analytics without the need for programmers. Visit SnapLabmedia.com, call (920) 722-1317 or email Scott at Scott@SnapLabMedia.com.