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’ve all experienced deja vu – looking at an unfamiliar situation and feeling – almost knowing – that you’ve seen it before.
It’s time to flip that phrase.
William Taylor, cofounder of Fast Company magazine and author of Practically Radical, writes that it’s time for the best leaders to demonstrate a capacity for vuja de’. It’s looking at a familiar situation (say, being a leader in ChurchWorld for decades, or designing and delivering a weekly worship experience for years) as if you’ve never seen it before, and with that fresh line of sight, developing a distinctive point of view on the future.
You can’t do big things anymore if you are content with doing things a little better than everyone else, or a little differently from how you’ve done them in the past.
It’s time to look at your organization and your calling as if you are seeing them for the first time.
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
- Underleveraged technologies or products that could be valued in categories that were not previously considered or by new or niche groups of consumers
- 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
- Undervalued distribution networks that can be reawakened with partners who want to be where you are
- Consumer perceptions and sluggish brand equity that can be refreshed to awaken new revenue
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
Red Thread Thinking, by Debra Kaye with Karen Kelly
Practically Radical, by William C. Taylor