Most of us attach the word “audit” to “IRS” and the word association isn’t pleasant.
The general definition of an audit is an evaluation of a person, organization, system, process, enterprise, project or product.
The term most commonly refers to audits in accounting, internal auditing, and government auditing, but similar concepts also exist in project management, quality management, water management, and energy conservation. (from Wikipedia)
Debra Kaye, writing in Red Thread Thinking, wants to give new meaning to the word audit by attaching it to your ideas instead of your tax returns.
There’s plenty of information, products, materials, and technology that can be looked at in a fresh way, modified somehow, and used again.
We all have ideas that never went anywhere. It’s time to unearth old notes from previous development projects. Are there innovations or ventures that you started to work on and then abandoned for some reason?
It’s time for an “idea audit” to see what’s in the back of your hard drive, filing cabinet or closet. When you reassess what’s already there you can uncover what’s worth revisiting.
What should you be looking for in an idea audit? Most organizations and innovators have or can find hidden assets in their past ideas and efforts, including:
- Existing old technologies that have accessible benefits that can be enhanced and revealed to new constituents (think mechanical watches).
- Underleveraged technologies or products that could be valued in categories that were not previously considered or by ne new or niche groups of consumers (think Post-It notes)
- Unreleased products or too quickly discarded product concepts that could be potential winners, but that went astray because the going-in insight or platform wasn’t properly tweaked (think Clear-Protein)
- Undervalued distribution networks that can be reawakened with partners who want to be where you are (think World Wide Web)
- Consumer perceptions and sluggish brand equity that can be refreshed to awaken new revenue (think Gatorade)
In short, open your eyes fresh and look anew.
Look at your resources – every false start, tool, prototype, note, gadget, materials, formula, recipe, or report available – from a different perspective.
Maybe it’s even time for a little Vuja De’.
Most artists look for something fresh to paint; frankly I find that quite boring. For me it is much more exciting to find fresh meaning in something familiar. – Andrew Wyeth
inspired by Red Thread Thinking, by Debra Kaye with Karen Kelly