How to drive innovation from within the organization

Everything begins with an idea – Earl Nightingale

Any business, whether it’s a startup or an SMB or an MNC can easily relate to the above quote. Over the past few decades, innovation and fresh idea generation have become a necessity. In order to sustain cut throat competition across the globe, you need to continuously come up with creative and path-breaking ideas.

Ideas can originate from multiple sources – from business partners, customers, employees, and others. If you are running an SMB or a startup, sharing and communicating new ideas may not be as painstaking or complicated.

But, as your organization becomes bigger and extends to various locations, you might find it difficult to keep the flow of ideas going and potentially lose out on what could have been great opportunities to grow your business.

Why your employees’ ideas are critical for business growth

Your employees can offer you a wealth of diversified perspectives and innovative thoughts in terms of increasing efficiency and productivity. Not just that, you can also increase engagement, innovation and retention among your employees by encouraging them to share ideas and implementing ones that are promising.

Consider this case study on Virgin Trains. By implementing an idea put forth by their train manager regarding the company’s train seat reservation download system, they were able to increase their download success rates from 72% to 90%.

Further Reading: Listen to your employees’ ideas by Richard Branson

 

There are several more of such examples. Your employees understand your business in and out – this knowledge coupled with a keen sense of innovation and a desperate passion to change the status quo – can result in incredible new solutions.

The challenge for you as a business is how best can you channel these ideas so they don’t get lost in oblivion. Several organizations have seen success with establishing a collaborative platform for this purpose, thereby enabling employees to ideate and collaborate towards business transformation.

It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen – Scott Belsky
Idea Management Software

What exactly is idea management software?

Your employees are most likely brimming with brilliant ideas – ideas which can spring up at different instances while working on different projects. and

Through an idea management software, you can

  • Collect all these ideas from all your employees
  • Evaluate and analyze each idea
  • Shortlist and select the best ideas along with top level executives
  • Track how different ideas are progressing

Now, there are several idea management platforms in the market. But not all of them are made the same. We recommend you look for the following must-have features when selecting an idea management platform:

Seamless Integration

One of the most important features an idea management platform should possess is the capability to integrate into the existing Microsoft Office 365 and  Sharepoint environments smoothly. This integration not only increases communication and collaboration of ideas between different employees in different teams but also boosts  engagement and adoption rates of these platforms. With such additional capabilities you can leverage your present investments in these platforms.

Whether the environment is on-premises or cloud or hybrid, the software should be deployable and must function effectively.

Other than these two, the software should also have the capability to integrate into social, mobile, analytics and cloud premises.

Gamification

Gamification is a key feature to increase collaboration and acts as an incentive for employees to generate more innovative ideas. Gamification can done by assigning points for ideation, giving badges based on the contribution etc. By rewarding based on contribution you can expect to see an increase in participation.

Ideation and Collaboration

An effective idea management system should enable employees to check the positioning and competence of their own idea. You can achieve this by  integrating crowdsourcing features into the software.

Let’s consider a scenario where  top level management puts up a problem on the platform. Employees from all parts of the organisation would start submitting their own ideas/ solutions.

As time passes by,  responses keep piling up, making it it extremely difficult for the management to review the ideas.

But by using crowdsourcing features like allowing the option to submit likes, comments, upvotes etc. the best ideas can be easily separated from mediocre ones.

By permitting employees to upvote/like/ comment on others’ ideas, the best idea can be brought to management’s notice within the shortest time possible. These features also play a significant role in increasing overall collaboration and communication among employees.

Powerful Workflow process

This is the most important feature you need to check before taking the final call on the selection of software. An effective workflow process should not only take the least time possible for idea generation but also have a clear cut strategy.

Check out the workflow of our own idea management system.

The system has a distinct and definite process at various stages of idea generation.

Employees can submit their ideas even if there is no ongoing challenge. Reviews on these ideas can then be crowdsourced and discussed among all employees..

Shortlisted ideas can then be accepted or rejected by the business unit committee and the board can take the final call on the implementation of  best idea based on voting.

With such a simple and distinct strategy you can

  • Easily evaluate the progress of idea implementation
  • Review all ideas hasslefree at different levels of the organization
  • Save a lot of time

In addition to these features, a good idea management system should also

  • Provide dashboards for viewing idea count and status
  • Support running several targeted idea campaigns
  • Have flexible and customizable workflows

Considering an Idea Management application for your enterprise? We think you will really like  Wave!

Comments? Feedback? We would love to hear from you. Feel free to leave your opinions/queries/concerns in the comments section below!

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