A lot of our current potential clients are identifying the pain points of needing to collect ideas and manage them for the purposes of business development, stakeholder management, and process improvement. Most of these pain points break down to the question: ‘What is the innovation process?’ Online idea management makes that innovation process a lot easier and saves time. Below we identify the three phases of the innovation process and how online idea management helps speed that process up.
Concept – In this stage, ideas have just been pitched or submitted and they’re waiting for people to interact with them. Offline, this is usually done the in the middle of meetings or brainstorming sessions. Sometimes the conversations are difficult to completely take down. An idea can get developed within a meeting without an audit trail. With online idea management, this stage is easy. Ideas are submitted to a system, or with Spotlight you can pre-empt ideas with challenges, and they’re not only tagged with keywords and shared to the appropriate people, but those people can interact with those ideas as their schedule permits. They can choose to discuss it at any time or vote on it, but the conversation remains open continuously until the idea is approved in a way that just doesn’t happen offline.
Consultation – In this stage, the ideas have reviewers or decision-makers involved and are in the process of reviewing the group consensus and development of the idea. Offline this can be extremely difficult. Within meetings, the loudest voices often dominate and people fall back on old hierarchies which can mean that some employees may not speak up. The audit trail of who has contributed what gets lost and administrators must make decisions without all of the information. With online idea management, this process, thanks to the analytics of the system, is simplified. Administrators can see with a few clicks the top innovators of their system, read through discussions, and even set up review boards to make that process even easier by defining their own criteria and time periods. There are multiple tools set to not just collect ideas, but manage them, which is what idea management should be all about.
Conclusion – The final stage of the innovation process is the conclusion, where ideas are approved or put on hold. Offline, it may be difficult to get to this stage. Consulting with other decision makers involves reviewing notes and relying on memory to ensure that all of the considerations brought up within meetings are taken into account. This takes much more time and effort than necessary. With online idea management, this process is much easier. Ideas are always focused on outcomes, rather than just discussions. It’s easy for a decision maker to approve ideas and with Challenges, the ideas can be specifically focused toward a task. With our aforementioned analytics tools, coming to a decision is far easier for administrators. In meeting beforehand, it’s also easier to make the process more automated and as it’s transparent, employees can understand why their ideas haven’t yet been approved, rather than the process being cloaked in mystery.
This is the basic skeleton of the innovation process. An idea must not just be pitched, but also managed and developed in order to create a real solution. The benefit of doing this process online is that it’s more efficient, more transparent, and easier for an administrator to manage on their own. For more information about how online idea management can help you, check out our resources section.