How to choose the most suitable idea management system for your company’s needs

Daring Ideas Are Like Chessmen Moved Forward: They May Be Beaten, But They May Start A Winning Game.” This Johann Wolfgang von Goethe quote carries a lot of merits, especially in today’s business world where the ideas are the engine that drives a business forward and one idea can win you the game.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) was the greatest German literary figure of the modern era and a statesman. And even back then, Goethe was aware of the power of an Idea and what it can bring.

Photo by Randy Fath

Battle for market
The fastest-growing companies of today gather ideas from all employees, evaluate them, develop and bring them to market faster than ever before. Some ideas may be beaten, but by allowing your employees to participate in idea management you are increasing your chances of finding “The One”, the “Winning Game” Idea.
Companies compete for the market, with the aim to quickly discover, develop and implement ideas for new products or services. To be able to compete at this level, companies must rely on the creativity of their employees and partners. Not only that, but they must also be adept at focusing employees’ creative energies around key business issues — gathering and evaluating ideas efficiently, and quickly identifying those with the greatest potential for implementation.

The leaders’ approach
There is a number of Idea management systems out there, but the question is what to look for in order to maximize your ideas potential and eventually win the game.
Let’s start with the basics. As mentioned, market leaders are tapping into all of their available resources, they are opening ideation to all of their employees, as well as to external stakeholders. With an open ideation system and option to invite all of your employees to participate, share their knowledge and expertise, you will create a friendly environment where your employees know their input will be acknowledged and appreciated.
However, a simple idea gathering is not enough. With a feedback-oriented system, your employees will be motivated and engaged to participate in ideation, share their perspectives and collaborate with others.

Ideation types
Some systems cover multiple ways of ideation. Opening idea submission to all employees, known as the bottom-up approach, is just one of them. There are systems that cover focused submission of ideas, where top management in companies can address specific questions or set specific business challenges. This approach is also called the top-down approach. Within this type of ideation, companies can gather ideas that are of most importance and that are in line with the company’s business strategy. These types of challenges can be usually sponsored by the management to motivate employees even further with challenge-based rewards.
Of course, some companies turn to their clients, looking for their opinion and input, for improving existing products/services, or even ask them for ideas for completely new ones. This form of ideation is commonly referred to as open ideation or crowdsourcing.
Idea management systems that can facilitate all of the above-mentioned types of ideation are the ones worth looking into.

Features and perks
Once shortlisting the systems based on the ideation you are looking to implement, the next step is to look for the idea management system functionalities that will enable your company to capitalize on the collected ideas.
The leading idea management system providers offer these functionalities and features:

  • Idea workflow configuration
  • Configuration of submission forms
  • Configuration of scorecards
  • User roles configuration
  • Personalization of the system
  • Integration with other systems
  • Strong support structures

As mentioned, they need to cover every aspect of ideation (bottom-up, top-down and open ideation). However, the flexibility of an idea management system and the possibility to perfectly fit the company’s needs is one of the biggest differentiators between idea management vendors. The ability to configure idea workflows, submission forms, evaluation criteria without requiring additional development hours for, it is what defines the worth of a system to the company using it.
To be able to maximize on your idea management investment, you should also be looking for a system that must be in accordance with your business strategy and that can be integrated with your existing business ecosystem and software that you already have in place (SSO provider, Slack, CRM, database, etc.).

Choosing the right one
The above-mentioned information should assist you in comparing the solutions that are offered on the market and selecting the ideal idea management system for your organization. And once you do that, you are ready to start looking for that “game-winning” idea on the wings of your newly implemented software. You can check out the break down of TOP 5 idea management software you can choose from in one of our previous blogs.