What Do You Think? – The Last Step in the Innovation Process.


The objective during this step is to explore how ideas might take form in the real world and be successful. It is about building to learn, making prototypes to understand how design solutions might work and testing to see how users experience them. Initial failure and repetition is part of the process and fundamental to achieving solutions. In addition to making ideas tangible, this phase also includes a series of planning activities to determine how design solutions are aligned with strategic goals.

This step typically takes place at the agency level after the innovation team has collaborated during steps one through six. The mindset in this mode is pragmatic, evaluative and strategic. During the Realize Offering step, the most useful mindsets include:

Reiterate prototypes

Converting the concepts and solutions from the last six steps into a reality requires prototyping and evaluating them until the value of the offering can be demonstrated. Prototyping translates the intangible idea into tangible form that users can experience. As the prototypes are migrated through this step become more and more refined, discipline is needed to repeat the process until all challenges have been met to ensure the successful implementation of the new offering.

Evaluating in reality

A prototype is little more than guesswork until it is validated through testing. A willingness to learn from failure informs the design teams that progress is achieved primarily through trial and error. By treating prototypes not as final solutions, but as tools for learning, the team remains open-minded and receptive during user testing. Maintaining an inquisitive frame of mind and allow the team to capture insights that then serve as the basis for improving design solutions.

Defining strategies

The innovation team envisions possible desired end states, thinks about the effort required to get there, and then weighs each option to arrive at the best possible route. This mindset is about trying to use design concepts as the basis for measuring possible directions for the organization.

Implementing in reality

The focus in this mindset is on the specific steps necessary to realize the offerings. The thinking in this mindset is directed toward creating a roadmap and getting a clear sense of how to get to the destination selected.

Communicating vision

After solutions are conceived, strategies are formulated and a plan developed, a consensus and support for the initiative needs to be built. A vision must be created and shared with all stakeholders to guide their activities and bring focus to the efforts of the entire organization. Communicating vision is about leadership, understanding stakeholder values and point of view, and giving consideration to everyone involved in implementation can embrace the ideas as their own.

The innovation team has now completed the innovation process. It has stayed the course through studying the context and the people, brainstorming ideas, analyzing a number of plausible solutions, producing a viable prototype and communicating the benefits to organizational leadership. Nice work!

Scott Severns is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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