Innovation is the lifeblood of organizations, driving growth and competitive advantage. To harness the creative potential of employees and stakeholders, idea management plays a crucial role.
What is Idea Management?
Idea management encompasses three essential steps: collection, processing, and implementation.
During the collection phase, ideas are generated and gathered from various sources. These can be internal sources such as employees, or external sources such as customers, or startups and innovators.
The processing phase involves qualifying, refining, and shortlisting ideas. This ensures the most promising ones move forward that fit with your goals.
Last but not least, the implementation phase turns selected ideas into projects that can generate tangible outcomes.
Best Practices for Idea Management:
Most use cases for idea management revolve around the concept of "challenges." A challenge is a targeted campaign designed to collect ideas over a specific period. Although a continuous idea management can be a valuable use case for many organizations, setting a limited time period can increase engagement by creating an incentive.
Challenges typically comprise of five steps:
- Identify the problem
- Issue the challenge to a target audience
- Collect and evaluate ideas
- Shortlist the best ones
- Implement them
The most common pitfall of idea management is the “idea sandbox syndrome.” This occurs when ideas accumulate without concrete follow-up or implementation. Besides the obvious lack of generating a tangible result for the challenge organizer, this can also decrease employee engagement.
This is why choosing the right tool is key to being able to run idea challenges and bring them to implementation.
Choosing the Right Software
Being able to run idea challenges requires software that allows for the collection and sorting of submissions. However, when selecting any new software, organizations face three key challenges:
- Tools multiplicity - we already use many different tools on a daily basis
- Onboarding - training and adoption
- Retention - keeping users over the long term
To address these challenges, an integrated approach leveraging existing tools proves beneficial. Integration with familiar communication tools such as Microsoft Teams, Yammer, Workplace from Facebook, or Slack enhances engagement and user adoption. However, being able to take ideas all the way to the implementation phase is crucial, which is why many organizations consider their idea management needs in context of their full innovation management needs.
Idea Management vs End-to-End Innovation Management
The market for idea management tools has shifted from only idea management to end-to-end innovation management as it is a fundamental component of a fuller process.
An end-to-end innovation management platform can provide benefits beyond just gathering ideas because the ideas generated during an idea challenge can be connected to features that enable implementation. For example, you can directly launch and track projects in the same platform. Or, leverage qualified solutions from existing partnerships to bring the idea to life.
Idea Management is a Must-Have in Your Innovation Process
Idea management is an indispensable component of the innovation management process. To overcome the "idea sandbox syndrome," where numerous ideas accumulate without concrete follow-up, organizations need functional tools.
Idea management solutions should provide the necessary support to transform ideas into actionable projects, enabling organizations to unlock their innovation potential. By implementing best practices, such as running challenges and incentivizing participation, organizations can maximize the value derived from their idea management initiatives. With the right approach and tools in place, organizations can drive innovation, propel growth, and stay ahead in today's competitive landscape.
- Forrester Wave (2022) The Crisis Of Fractured Organizations.
- G2 Best Idea Management Software in 2023: Compare Reviews on 110+. Available at: https://www.g2.com/categories/
- Gartner (2020) ‘Market Guide for Innovation Management Tools’.
- Quadrant (2023) ’SPARK Matrix Innovation Management 2023.
- Staten, J. and Hopkins, B. (2020) ‘The Forrester Wave : Innovation Management Platforms, Q1 2020’