In our previous post we discussed how idea management puts a structure to the process of collecting and capturing ideas within an organisation or community. But for idea management to be effective in a company three things are required:
- a defined process model
- a focus on innovation
- the right tools to manage it i.e. an idea management system
The overall aim of an idea management system is to identify and select the most valuable ideas for implementation. But ideally the system you choose should do more than that!
Improve the process
An idea management system makes the idea management process easier, more open, more collaborative – and therefore more effective. It enables the structured capture and evaluation of ideas within an organisation. Having a central place that captures and stores ideas submitted by employees means that ideas can be discussed, shared, developed and signed off all in one place. Companies that manage this process effectively enjoy increased revenue and a more engaged, productive workforce.
What do we mean by “system”?
Traditionally the process of capturing ideas may have been done via an ideas suggestion box where ideas were submitted, a few may have been chosen for further development but rarely was there any feedback given on the outcome of the ideas. This type of system also left no room for wider collaboration or involvement of other employees.
These days there is specific idea software available to make the job easier. These are often cloud-based, online tools that all employees have access to. These web-based systems require no installation and minimal set up and can be accessed from any device – PCs, tablets or smartphones. They allow for more collaborative and open idea generation and evaluation.
In its simplest form an idea management system provides a way for employees to submit ideas which can then be evaluated by others.
Ideally an idea management system should also do the following:
- Help you keep on top of ideas being submitted and prompt you to take actions such as making decisions and providing feedback.
- Help you monitor the progress of ideas by keeping you informed about what stage ideas are at – usually in the form of email or in-app notifications.
- Keep employees informed about what is happening to their ideas
- Allow collaboration from across the company – an open, transparent system allows everybody to see and feedback on all ideas.
- Promote innovation across your company by making idea management more collaborative, engaging and visible.
- Provide trends and metrics – analyse idea data, highlight any patterns and trends, recognise the key innovators and collaborators in your company
More sophisticated tools may have some added features that might benefit your company
- Integration options to work with your existing systems, such as single sign-on features, integrations with project management tools, import/export of data to other software
- Social tools such as voting and commenting which improve communication and facilitate the spread of ideas
- Closed/open group options for flexibility to use for internal and external idea gathering