Idea Management 101: The Ultimate Guide To Driving Innovation

We help organizations realize the long-term benefits of idea management software. Understanding the idea management process provides companies with a unique toolkit that can be used to enhance every area of their business. From organizational structure to team management and even the creation of new products and services.

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What is Idea Management?

Idea Management is a formalized, structured routine for generating, evaluating, and implementing ideas to drive innovation and large-scale organizational change.

Unlike other models, theories, or practices, idea management is incredibly simple, infinitely flexible and, if embedded well and tested thoroughly, hugely transformative.

Without a clear process, even the best ideas are likely to get lost. If you can reliably capture, refine, and apply feedback and suggestions from both inside and outside your company, you tap into a potentially infinite source of innovative ideas. There are few things as valuable, so it’s worth investing both time and money in getting your idea management process flow right.

In practice, it refers to three elements required to cultivate excellent, impactful ideas: people, platform, and process.

What does this mean?

People

Create a culture that values and actively encourages the contribution of feedback, suggestions, insights, and observations.

Platform

Provide a receptacle for catching and storing all of these thoughts; one that is easily accessible and intuitive to use when you want to work on these thoughts and transform them into potentially implementable ideas.

Process

Develop a process that enables you to rationally and reasonably filter through these ideas, against your business goals and priorities.

Before we delve into how to bring these three elements together, you’re going to need buy-in from your entire team. To get started, let’s dig into a few reasons why idea management is a vital investment for your company.

Why is it important?

Just because you’ve always done things one way doesn’t mean that’s the only, or best, way to do them. The market is constantly changing, and so should you.

With this in mind, idea management is an effective solution to several significant business challenges:

Feedback Fatigue

The thing about old-fashioned feedback is that it’s messy and imprecise. It tends to follow negative experiences, and is rarely solution-focused. If left unguided, it can become a forum for complaints and little else. At which point management will – either consciously or subconsciously – see it as a chore, and start to avoid it.

The Idea Plateau

It might be that there are plenty of great ideas in the mix, but they’re simply never reaching key decision-makers. As businesses grow and priorities become stretched, communication channels become more complex, meaning that more ideas get lost.

The Bystander Effect

This is a psychological term, referring to the diminished likelihood of individuals responding to an emergency if they think that someone else will do it. This also happens within businesses. When individuals feel they have no influence, they don’t see any point in contributing beyond what is required.

Distant Management

As engaged as your managers might be, they’re removed from the day-to-day issues that affect your team on the ground. When decision-makers have one set of priorities, this can become the company focus, to the detriment of your actual workflow.

Staff engagement is an important part of idea management. Tapping into valuable insights from your employees that may otherwise be lost within the daily shuffle is vital. They live and breathe the function of your business, and can contribute disruptive solutions to many of your company’s biggest issues.

While senior leadership make the final call, team members on the front lines are perfectly positioned to identify new ways of working, thinking about and approaching your work. Ignoring this potential input does more than simply reduce your rate of innovation, it may keep you actively out of touch.

Who benefits from Idea Management?

Ideas aren’t just for senior management. By tapping into ideas submitted by their colleagues, every department within your business will benefit.

For example, Idea Management can help your…

…marketing department fine-tune its existing output, identify new channels, access ideas for new campaigns, and ultimately generate more leads and increase revenue.

…product team to access suggestions for new features and improvements that will help you outperform the competition.

…finance department to improve its forecasting and asset allocation, increase efficiency and identify cost-cutting opportunities.

..HR department to boost employee morale, increase employee engagement, and improve outdated processes.

…customer service team to answer questions more efficiently and increase customer loyalty.

Choosing an Idea Management Tool

There are several idea management tool options out there, but the most important thing is that whatever you choose aligns with your goals and objectives, and fits your workflow.

Look at how your employees actually work, and make sure the software that you choose is simple, accessible, and rewarding for them. After all, if your team loves a platform, they’re far more likely to use it.

Unlock Your Company’s Potential with Wazoku

Innovate Seamlessly with Our Leading Idea Management Platform

Questions you might consider are:

There are a number of factors to consider when it comes to selecting an idea management platform. Across Wazoku’s 20+ years of experience leading in the innovation space, we’ve had to answer these questions fairly regularly. To consolidate where people should be thinking ahead of making such a decision, we developed this handy guide.

*Remember: ideas can strike at any time, so whatever program you choose, it’s critical that you remove any friction between the moment of ideation and it’s capture.

Implementing your Idea Management Tool

You have done your research, chosen the software, and now you’re ready to implement a new idea management platform and process into your organization. 75% of change initiatives fall short of expectations due to employee resistance and lack of clarity and leadership support, so it’s vital that you get this right. The last thing you want is to hand over a shiny new toy, just for it to be immediately abandoned.

As with everything, preparation is key. Make sure that the software you choose offers excellent customer support, and easily-accessible expertise.

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