7 Tips for Creating “Buy-In” for Your Next Idea

While an idea can come from anywhere, it doesn’t GO anywhere until others are bought in. Until others are convinced, inspired or otherwise moved to take action against it. Until then, it’s just an idea…with no value assigned to it, no weight behind it or people on board, no plan built to execute against it. And, like the ones that came before it, without “buy-in” your latest idea won’t become a thing, never mind the next big thing.

It’s a problem of “buy-in.” It’s not just about creating new and better ideas, it’s about facilitating change within an organization. When doing so, you should prepare to spend as much time establishing what will enable your idea as designing the idea itself.

This is a common challenge we see across the brands we work with every day. So if you’re experiencing the same problem, don’t worry, you’re in good company. We’ve found most organizations simply aren’t equipped with the skills or processes to get an idea executed…quickly, simply and often enough.

Following are seven tips we offer up to help create buy-in for your ideas. While any one of these tips can be successful on its own, we caution that without developing a true campaign for creating “buy-in,” you critically limit your likelihood of success.

  1. Design for the end at the beginning – Establish what success would look like of an idea. What’s “in scope” and “out of scope” for success?  What are the KPIs that make a great idea great? These help establish focus and rigor throughout the work.
  2. Embrace the enablers -Answer the question, What needs to change to enable my idea to flourish? Sometimes it’s about money. Sometimes it’s about time. Sometimes it’s about partners. Sometimes it’s about physical stuff. Regardless, we must understand and work out what needs to change to make an idea happen.
  3. Get personal – Creating buy-in is so much more than data and stats that back up your idea. You’ll need to design ways for your audience to experience and enroll in an idea. This can include getting beyond presenting at people and workshoping with people to make them feel part of the process…and in that process to feel ownership and pride in the idea as it develops.
  4. Tell a story – Use stories to help ideas spread. Stories provide memorable hooks – images, anecdotes, the unexpected – that help ideas travel.
  5. Bring your idea to life (literally) – Use real people to make ideas real. No one is more powerful than the customer. When they say something, people listen…and then repeat it. Capture their voices, their faces, their lives in quotes, photos, videos, voice messages, etc.
  6. Land the idea by placing it in context – Visualize the final possible execution of an idea. Play it out. Even the most experienced business partner grasps onto tangible ideas more than they do theories.
  7. Make your idea beautiful – From beautiful business models to striking design, how can you make your idea as attractive as possible? This isn’t simply about aesthetics; it’s about capturing the element of the idea that is going to engage people instantly.

Ultimately, creating “buy-in” is about controlling the compromises that kill great ideas. Very few ideas come out as they went in, if they come out at all. The better you can control this process – not by holding your idea tight, but by bringing the right people together and providing them a role in your idea’s development – the further you will enable your idea to go.


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