As an idea management software provider we are faced with multiple use cases and needs for innovation. We work with organisations across all sectors (retail, financial, insurance, media, public sector: health, education, government) and evidently innovation programmes vary greatly from one customer to another.
There is not just one path to innovation. Organisational processes differ in goals, management, reach and engagement. We spend a lot of time assessing our customers’ needs in depth, from our very first contact: understanding their requirements and reasons for innovation is a requisite to help them to efficiently leverage their stakeholders’ know-how and to reach their innovation goals.
“Businesses need to innovate or die”; you’ve heard this repeatedly echoed in the media and it is a recurrent topic in your meetings and discussions with colleagues. You know that you need to innovate and that it should be one of your organisation’s strategic priorities – but how and where to start may not be clear to you. At a first glance innovating seems simple and while instilling a corporate culture of innovation is actually not that daunting, putting a framework and structure to the programme can be more overwhelming. Innovation does not fall to a single role or department within the organisation, it is actually everyone’s jobs. Just as values such as integrity, accountability, diversity and quality form the core of your company culture, innovation should be integrated into your corporate values.
Why and how do our customers innovate? Organisations’ boundaries have become a lot more permeable and knowledge and expertise are distributed throughout and beyond the company, which means that innovation is now accessible to all. The reasons for using idea management tools as a method to power, support and enhance their innovation programmes are multiple but the fundamental use cases are similar:
- Engaging employees and stakeholders in true value creation and process improvement. The organisations we work with have a strong will to build and instill a great, sustainable culture of innovation within and beyond their boundaries. They know that encouraging their workforce to innovate and enhancing brand advocacy is vital.
- Engaging customers in co-creation to accelerate new product and service development, to involve customers and end users in mutually beneficial value creation and again, to enhance and spread brand advocacy. Co-creation is also creating value and momentum for the organisation by bringing together an engaged group of customers and ambassadors across a country or the globe.
- Developing new products and services to acquire new customers and retain existing ones, to create a buzz, to stay ahead of the game and ensure sustainable competitive advantage.
- Innovating with external groups of stakeholders, partners, other organisations, sharing intellectual property through the process of open innovation, which allows them to build better business models and to solve key challenges through the sharing of expertise and input.
So beyond the essential need to survive, innovate to develop great products and services, to improve continuously, to ensure competitive advantage, to satisfy and impress your customers, to recognise and reward your employees, customers and community, to build ethical, honest and long-lasting relationships with stakeholders.