As a leader in your organization you never ever want to miss a good idea. You also rarely have the time to evaluate and separate everything you hear and see into the valuable and worthless categories they need to be in. Information is streaming faster than anyone can comprehend, so how do we sort through it all without losing our minds? You have to create a filter or several filters that let you find the best ideas and information based on your priorities and needs.
The best way to start is to get specific. Telling your team that you want them to look for ideas to help the company is too broad a mission statement. Try to target one area that needs to improve the most. From there you can break it down in to problem areas and areas that have a lot of room for improvement. Decide on whether you need a solution or an idea before you begin the hunt and make sure everyone is clear on the specific goal.
To create a mental filter based on what is most important you need to identify your top priorities. Think about what problem needs to be solved to free up your time and/or other resources. Let your team/employees know that that finding a solution or idea is a priority. You will then have several different sets of eyes and minds sorting through the information highway to find the best idea or solution. You can also use tools like Google Alerts to help target the information you are looking for based on keywords.
Once you use your resources to narrow down your search you have to start doing some of the thinking. You may have 20 different solutions for the same problem the difference, like with anything, is in the context. The next think you have to do if find out which of those situations is most similar to yours. For example, you might not be able to use an idea or solution form a huge corporation if you only have three people working for you. You also need to consider your time restrictions. If you don’t have a the time to make one of the ideas work move on to the next one.
Filtering applies to any information source you come across, even your personal ideas. Most people don’t have the time to really explore every idea that presents itself so it helps to have a way to narrow down your search.