Last week we introduced L’Institut’s “Master Planning” and how this four-part process is a systemized way to uncover, develop and implement “Great Ideas”.
This week, we want to focus on the first stage of Master Planning – Illumination. It is at this stage that we can answer the practical question: What is the best way to discover and formulate a “Great Idea”?
There’s an old saying that says, “A strategy is only as good as the insight that went into it.” Even the most gifted strategists have little chance of developing a successful “Great Idea” and roadmap, unless they’re working with the right insights into what the marketplace truly wants from their company (or client) and how they can uniquely deliver on those wants/needs. In other words, what is their ‘permission space’?
That’s a great place to begin. And that’s where L’Institut has a unique point of view. We believe that what drives the marketplace stems from the notion of Memes. Memes are recurring, self-repeating ideas – conceptual territories – that, at a certain point, take on a life of their own. Seth Godinrefers to them as “viruses of the mind”, which is an apt expression. Memes can manifest initially as trends, such as on the Internet or in fashion circles, where speed of transmission is extremely swift.
But ultimately, a successful Meme becomes so embedded in public consciousness so as to become fixtures, almost taken for granted. The electric light bulb or the telephone are both Meme structures that have become so “endemic” that we barely even notice them anymore. But we use them all the time.
So, a “Great Idea” must be based on a Meme or Meme System that is waiting to be activated and leveraged. A hidden sequence of needs and themes that represent something unmet and highly desirable, and therefore something big. You can see this kind of explosive replication of a Meme with a new product launch that catches fire, such as the first Samsung Galaxy releases or the first iPad launch. Or a pop song or music video from Adele that races up the charts and scores an astonishing number of views and downloads. But memetic activity is happening all around us, usually in more subtle ways.
This is precisely where we at L’Institut have a key advantage. A method for discovering the Memes that will move society, called the Structural Mapping Process® (SMP). In one session, one fell swoop, with any group of people who have even the most remote association with the topic at hand, we will reveal a map of the Meme System around a brand or idea, even if that idea is only a concept in development.
Next week, we will discuss how the insights revealed in the SMP can then be applied to developing the “Great Idea” and new concepts.