5 steps to turn your idea into a working plan

When we have an idea in mind that we wish to turn into a real, tangible and above all sustainable project, we might encounter several difficulties and without a method and some useful tools, this can actually affect our attitude and make us feel blocked or even like giving up.

Whether it is a business project or an action plan to start a business or a marketing plan, we should always design a detailed working plan before venturing into a no return path.

For this reason, we suggest five useful steps we might take to realise our ideas.

Step 1 – Design your idea

At the beginning, our idea seems comprehensive, feasible and ultimately perfect, the best idea that our brain could conceive. However, the reality is very often quite different!

We feel strong and believe that our intuition works impeccably as it is just the perfect idea for us. Unfortunately, others might not find it interesting and therefore it may not respond to a real need. Moreover, we might be too superficial: we have a light-bulb moment and that is fine. However, many people have winning ideas and perhaps at that very moment other people have had the same intuition somewhere else in the planet. What will make the difference between them and me? Well, it will be the working plan, the strategy that I will adopt and my ability to realise that intuition.

For these reasons, it is essential to draw our idea by developing some important aspects:

  • Which needs does my product / service meet?
  • What are the characteristics of the target market?
  • Who are my competitors?

In short, we need to study and carry out extensive daily researches to avoid mistakes that could undermine our idea since the very beginning.

Step 2 – Create your prototype

Once we have been determined the characteristics of potential customers, it is appropriate to create a prototype of our product / service and test it with friends, relatives and people close to us who may have identical or at least similar characteristics to the target audience identified. In short, we shall develop what in English is called the Minimum Viable Product (MVP), an early version of the product / service that envisages an interaction with our target market since the idea comes up to our minds. This system is useful not only to validate our idea, but also to perform a quick initial and low-cost test enabling us to assess what we are doing and decide whether to continue or change our minds.

Step 3 – Review your product / service

Once we have concluded this first test of our prototype obtaining the answers we were looking for, we shall continue with the modeling of our product / service, by applying the appropriate changes to propose a new version of it, which summarises and maximises the information learned directly from the client (tester).

In this third phase, we shall investigate and work on possible revisions to be applied to our product / service, by asking questions and, if necessary, repeating the test. We may also contact the first potential stakeholders to verify whether they may be interested or may wish to give us valuable advice.

A useful tool for the first 3 steps: Idea Design Process

We might devote a lot of time to these first three steps. In fact, the market and target audience analyses, the realisation of the prototype, the testing and the necessary changes may require months of work. For this reason, it is crucial we always keep an eye on a scheme highlighting the important steps we are taking to achieve our final design.

The Idea Design Process is a useful model that helps us track each step and decide when the idea is ready to move on to the next step: click here to download it.

Step 4 – Create your business project

The operational phase actually begins with this fourth step, when we already have many elements available enabling us to imagine the details of our business project and we can add further elements that will enrich the features of our product / service as well as the way it shall be manufactured and sold. This is a very important step, because we shall specify any data concerning:

  • the initial investment;
  • the human resources needed;
  • the material resources needed;
  • the marketing and communication strategies needed to reach our users;
  • the financial strategies that we can potentially implement.

Useful tool for this stage: the Creative Project Canvas

This fourth phase also requires in-depth studies and analyses, revisions of the idea and comparisons with external parties: it is at this stage that the Creative Project Canvas can be a useful tool to realise our project. This is a proper canvas where we can “paint” the contents of our business project and enrich it with any kind of details. It will allow us to visualise all aspects of our idea in a comprehensive as well as context-aware manner and will help us to present it to our potential travel companions.

Click here to download the Work (Play) Book, the guide to use the Creative Project Canvas.

Click here to download the Creative Project Canvas.

Step 5 – Develop your timeline, launch and action planning strategy

Finally, we have reached the last step that will take us to our final design. This does not mean that we have completed our work and we can enjoy a well-deserved rest: on the contrary, getting the final working plan is the necessary step to start our entrepreneurial activities. In addition, we are more excited now and can concretely see that initial vague and confused idea we had; we are gripped by a sense of pragmatism and the desire to do, which will not be easily quenched, but shall be the drive to take action. Let us:

  • adopt a timeline of activities to be performed;
  • create an action plan to enter the market;
  • plan a sustainable financial strategy;
  • choose our travel companions and external services that can help us;
  • begin to take our first steps towards the promotion and sales of our product / service.

Thus, let us implement our idea and start a true sustainable business project.

Use the WorkPlayBook to manage every stage

Realising our ideas as well as finding ways to make them economically viable can often be problematic for many of us. These five steps can help you to understand many things and first of all the utility and feasibility of your plans, disregarding mere aspirations or accompanying you throughout the realisation of our greatest desires.

To do this, the Work (Play) Book will definitely help you and will support you to define and implement your idea as well as to develop it when it is a real and tangible product / service.

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3 ways to use Creative Project Canvas

How to use Creative Project Canvas?

Do you remember Max? We introduced him in our first post. Max has already downloaded the Creative Project Canvas and the Work Play Book, he has accomplished the Idea Design Process and now he is ready to use Creative Project Canvas.

So we suggest three ways how to use Creative Project Canvas and not to get lost.

1.Trust your intuition

Do you have a clear and detailed idea of your project? It is easier to start from the section where you have more information and then fill up the block where you feel more confident. Max has the most information about the value of project, so he can start filling the Creative Project Canvas from “Value” section. Then he can continue with “Access for others” and follow other arrows to fill all the blocks.

2.Start from your practice

In this way you can start from your creative practice, think in detail how to develop it and reflect on the impact. Also, Max can start from the “Activities and Work” to define what kind of activities he and others have to do, who will do that and what impact that will have on the project. But he has to be aware that some blocks are mutually connected to each other, in this case it will be easier for him to compare the information in the boxes and check mismatches.

3. Use the four blocks:

  • the core of your project (Value)
  • the practical part of your project (“Belonging to Networks”, “Activities and Work”, “Equipment”, “Material and Time”);
  • the external-perception of your project (“Champions and Critics”, “Getting Feedback”, “Access for others”);
  • the future plans of your project (“Short Term Gain and Losses”, “Long Term Rewards”)

These four blocks will help you to divide information in blocks to understand the general meaning of each box and about what you should think while filling the box.

If you need more information how to use Creative Project Canvas or to see graphic explanations, download Work Play Book in here.

Now it‘s the time to choose which way of using Creative Project Canvas is the best for you and you can start to work with it!

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9 Themes of Creative Project Canvas

Max is a creative. He has an idea to create a solution for standing in long lines at shop. He has a lot of ideas but he is struggling with planning and making his project real. How can Max start? What does he need? Then a friend of Max advises him to try Creative Project Canvas which can help him to make his idea real.

Jenny is a facilitator who helps for artists to make their own project. She makes presentations and workshops from time to time and she searches for something new to provide for artists. Jenny finds few tools which could be useful for her but still she is not confident how to use it. Then she discovers Creative Project Canvas and starts to analyse 9 themes of it in the Work Play Book.

Jenny and Max needed a tool and instructions to solve problems and help others which they found it – Creative Project Canvas.

We are going to the journey with Creative Project Canvas. In first point of view it could look difficult but it is really easy to use it. Creative Project Canvas has 9 themes:

  1. Value

It’s the block where Max had to discover values of the project for him and for others. He was thinking: why I am doing this?; why is it important for me?; how does it satisfy me?; why is it important for others? He wanted to help others and satisfy the customers. For others it had to be time saving and happiness.

  1. Equipment, Materials and Time

Each project has these three important elements which Max had to think about also. What kind of materials and equipment does he need? Where can he get resources? Maybe it could be few places/companies. Sure, it is important to count how much money, time does he need to improve his project and where will he get money from a project? Max knew few companies which could be interested in this project and could help him with resources but also he had to get all licenses and confirmations for the project.

  1. Activities and Works

In this block Max has to imagine all main activities which have to be done during the project, it’s not enough just the preparation and completing the idea. Also, he should think about marketing, promoting, reviewing and feedback. He can use a list with people who are going to help him and do those things or he is going to do it everything by his own. So he will check activities involved with: people, planning, making art, finance and investment, legal, research, communication, other operations and last but not least impact.

  1. Access for Others

Max was so concentrated on his idea that he didn’t think before about how his work will be reached and how he is going to reach his users/customers. Thanks to Creative Project Canvas he created online and physical ways how to reach his users. He doesn’t know a lot about communication, so he found a person who advised him which communication ways are the best and how to recognise his audience.

  1. Getting Feedback

Surely Max wants to know what people and organisations are thinking about his work. For this he created a list of people, organisations and time when and how often he wants to get the feedback and in which way. With this list he will never forget to improve his work considering the feedback.

  1. Champions and Critics

In this block Max had to consider who are his work champions and critics. Which people support, encourage him and which could give him open critics to improve his work? Even thought that he spend some time for thinking and choosing people,  he feels happy to have clear indications for  impact on his work.

  1. Belonging to Networks

Max thought about the networks he belongs to and what kind of information or contacts that could give. Then he realised that he needs to travel or make a contact with users in other countries and to spread his idea in there. Will he learn from meeting new people and travelling? Yes, for sure!

  1. Short Term Gain and Losses

Will Max get happiness from his project and will he expand his contact? Yes, he evaluated his project what he will gain and loose. Of course, he thought that he is going to lose a lot of time, energy and even money but it is still worth to do it for gaining all personal skills during the project.

  1. Long Term Rewards

Finally, but not least Max thought about the success of his project, how he can make it sustainable and how he is going to look like in society after doing this project. Luckily, he is thinking to be more recognized in his country and to start his adventure in other countries to be more independent than he was before.

Well, now Max has his way to do the project and he is confident about it. It is great that if he has some questions, he can always discuss them with other Creative Project Canvas users or just ask Jenny or another facilitator. Isn’t that amazing?

Max is going to complete his project. What are you waiting for?

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