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.

How to Keep People Engaged – Consulting with Technology

DataStation with Consulting
Starting the innovation initiative and launching it in an organization is just a tip of the ice berg. What happens afterwards is the real challenge.
As momentum starts to fade, you have to ask yourself:
Have I reached enough people?
Were my efforts enough to sustain innovation as essential part of organizational culture?

Will people keep coming back to share little bit of themselves?

We will explore the possibilities of using known innovation elements as fabric to sustainable innovation management.

Familiar Story

You got the job to connect people with the innovation strategy you developed with the management.

Top management recognized the essential importance of the innovation management. They did it because they want to grow, or they are in danger. The reason is not important, it is important that the change is now alive and has support of the top level.

You set the goal, set the milestones and gathered the I-team.

The battle can begin.

Management winds in your back are pushing you forward, I-team is highly motivated to work as all they are hand picked to drive the initiative forward. You organized few workshop, got some people on board. You managed to collect some ideas, one or two got implemented.

You gave a SOW report, results report and you shake a hand of your employer and ride on to the Sunset towards next Challenge.

Two months later, you are called back to the company (if you are lucky). Initiative withered and died. You have to kick start it again, only now you lost the initial momentum… no one wants to be part of it. Support from I-team is diminished, Management is frustrated and wants a quick and painless fix, but you can’t deliver.

All odds are against you. You have only couple of months to deliver some results, only now, they must last.

www.datastation.com

How can you avoid this situation? What is long term solution that will bring high motivation,  innovation culture and fertile ground for ideas to grow and flourish on the long run?

That puzzle are we going to tackle and complete in this article.

What is missing?

You had it right from the start. You had clear, achievable goals, motivated I-team and top management support.  You organized workshops, got people interested, created some momentum and harvested some ideas. They were even implemented. But the structure you nourished can live only for so long. You made a child and left him to roam without support.

What you need is the software tool to act as your Brilliant assistant to bridge that gap and to sustain the initiative once you ride on.

Combining your skills with a software tool will result in a same effect as a Doctors operation: Major first intervention with occasional follow ups.

You probably know this already, but please keep on reading to see where is the value for you precisely.

Tool as a Brilliant Assistant

Our experience is that short term interventions are not working. Tools do.

With good tool you can create innovation friendly environment directly from your mind to online community. In the right hands it will support, sustain and maintain all innovation initiatives activities towards innovation goals.

 

Keep in mind one thing. Tools are there to support Innovation initiative, they cannot harvest innovation potential without people, their collaborative effort, coordination and monitoring.

This is where you as a consultant fit in perfectly.

Online tools will empower you to scale, to save time and to service more clients in the form of micro consulting.

You will achieve more clients and more meaningful and lasting business relationships. That is the main value of the assisting online tools.

How can online tool help you?

Transparency

Clear process, Clear roles, Clear goals and milestones are essential for any innovation initiative to succeed. If people do not understand what they are supposed to do in which step, and what should be the outcome of their actions they will fall out of the train on the first stop.

DataStation Metrics

Tool: People can actually see the process visualized. They know how many phases there are, what is expected in which and what is final outcome. They know who participates, what is their contribution and they can compare it to the contribution of others.

Incentives

Everyone needs some incentive to keep doing something that is often regarded as “extra work” on the beginning.

They are different for all, but there is one general point to get people on board: When employees see that organization values their ideas on real problems, they will be more willing to engage in innovation going forward.

www.datastation.com

Tool provides large motivation possibilities to engage innovative people to act:

  1. Alarming, notification system that calls everyone to action at the right moment.
  2. Transparent idea status and execution results with lavish congrats message
  3. Improvement of the employee position and image within the company itself
  4. Influence with gaming aspect of the tool, as they come to raise their ranking, collect rewards and compete. Public recognition with Innovator of the month often raises participants sense of contribution.
  5. Some come to the tool as it is set as a must in corporate policy.
  6. Ability to resolve challenges as part of the Team.

Most valuable ones are those who see online tool as a way to affect ordinary way of working and whose only reward is actual transparent execution of their ideas.

Collaboration

Without collaborative effort which is often very hard to coordinate and sustain, innovation initiative is doomed. Nurturing employee collaboration and channeling it onto specific challenges is tiresome work, but necessary if you wish to harvest good ideas and to have enough to dig out the golden ones for implementation.

Without collaboration and knowledge exchange, ideation is just reduced to suggestion box, with no  real community test.

1185246_212407012216352_1160629054_n

Tools are often designed to compliment three essential aspects of the innovation management (3C’s): Collaboration, Communication and Coordination.

With ability to keep conversations in context of the idea for a long time, tools are very valuable lessons learned and knowledge archives. With intelligent notification system, feed and social elements IM tools are becoming social collaboration environments where all the right ingredients are mixed to gain hopefully very good results.

Support

Aligned with the innovation initiative goals. It must be clear to everyone involved what is at stake. Almost always, it is company’s future and survival. All should know that their activities are essential in order for company to survive and thrive.

Tools are there to help us implement our strategy. They are designed to sustain and compliment its meandric course with good flexibility options and usable simple to implement interventions. They are used as a centralized hub to collect the data, transform it to usable information and create new possibilities.

Tools are ideal for long term innovation management.

Time

If by corporate policy you managed to spare a few hours for employees personal projects, ideas and innovation it might not be enough. It will all crumble is you expect all their ideas will come on work. They are coming at any moment. When we are under pressure, under shower, on the road, on the beach…

cloud

Several hours a week are often not enough, even if employees used it well. We need to empower them to contribute from their beds, roadtrips, even showers.

Cloud technology and Online available tools can bridge that gap. Any time, from anywhere. Office walls are only a suggestion. Especially if we bring open innovation into mix.

Metrics

On the tool you can track various aspects of innovation performance, create reports and turn unorganized data into real usable information. To gain real time visual and metric insight into the results of the innovation initiative is something CEO’s are keen to have right now. Learning from your past mistakes, gives you power to raise from the necessary failures and turn them to opportunities on the next run.

business-graphs-3D1

Symbiosis needed – Consulting with Technology

 

Short term interventions are not enough. Why put all that hard work in creating excellent innovation strategy, when it will crumble after you leave office behind.

Combining  consultants expertise with technology, we gain the possibility to affect organizations on a level  never seen before with the same resources as you have now.

If you build it, They will come

Reach out to possibilities, find your partnering tool.