Thought leadership

Master Planning: The Art and Science of developing “Great Ideas”

In previous posts, we have written a lot about “Great Ideas” – what they are, why they’re important, and how to nurture them. And, while “Great Ideas” are much larger than the individuals who may have originally conceived them, there seem to be those for whom Great Ideas just “appear”; those who develop “Great Ideas” almost effortlessly. And while this may be so for the Marie Curies, Martin Luther Kings, Steve Jobs and Richard Bransons of the world – for most of us ‘mere mortals’, this is not our reality. Does that mean that developing Great Ideas are only an option for the chosen few?

For a “Great Idea” to truly be great, it is endorsed, embraced and exemplified by all.

At L’Institut we know that everyone has the innate potential to uncover “Great Ideas”, but the journey from discovery to implementation may not be apparent or easy. There is both an art and a science to the process. To help develop this skill and unleash every individual’s – and organization’s – abilities, we have developed “Master Planning”.

Master Planning is a four-part participatory process that guides you through the entire journey including:


  • Conducting a mapping on the public consciousness and its unmet needs and desires as it pertains to your stated purpose (which could be a brand, a product, an issue or an enterprise as a whole). This provides important clues as to what the conceptual territories are that may contain your next “Great Idea”.


  • Based on this mapping of unmet consumer needs and desires and the conceptual territories, develop the strategic building blocks for the “Great Idea”
  • Explore and ideate new concepts based on the “Great Idea”


  • The paring down of these concepts into the “best of”, based on such factors as an examination of market size, potential upside of the new concepts, costs and timing required to go to market, etc.
  • The development of your strategic roadmap, prototyping and piloting of the chosen concept(s), to work out kinks and bugs, and start gauging the real market appetite


  • The comprehensive planning of the rollout of the concept(s) in key markets.

This is of course grossly oversimplified, but still a fairly accurate description of the stages involved. Imagine the above applied to a new store design concept for a major electronics manufacturer, or to a new system for offering affordable and on-call limo services to business customers in major cities, and you can visualize for yourself how this might unfold.

In the course of going through these four stages, it is imperative that the leadership team and those directly involved with the implementation of the “Great Idea” concepts be directly involved in the entire Master Planning process. This will not only ensure more coherent execution once the concept is in market, but a whole army of ambassadors who will speak for the “Great Idea” and engage others with it.

A “Great Idea” is not the property of just the leader and is only as great as the people behind it. For a “Great Idea” to truly be great, it is endorsed, embraced and exemplified by all.

In our next few posts, we will explore each of the stages of the Master Planning process in more detail.

Back to news