Today innovation has become a lifeline for businesses who have had to pivot and adjust to recent market changes. Yet, innovation doesn’t just happen, it starts with ideas. Ideas can result in new revenue streams, product improvements, enhanced employee engagement, and more. Yet to reap the true benefits of innovation, organizations must create a structured process whereby ideas are systematically collected, evaluated, and implemented on scale. Idea software (aka idea management software or idea audit software) helps organizations do this by providing a structured innovation framework that can be launched across an organization.
What is Idea Software: The Definition
Idea software, otherwise known as Idea/innovation management software, allows companies to systemically collect ideas relating to specific challenges or goals. Here ideas can then be developed for implementation and managed on the platform.
How Idea Management Software Works: The Process
Typically the system workflow pinpoints the most essential stages of ideation. Each step has been tailored specifically to gain the most out of the process. Idea software also has various features such as gamification, automation, and AI tools, to help you engage your users and easily manage the process.
Below is a summary of each stage of the idea management software workflow:
1. Submission: Gather Ideas from Your Audience
At this stage in the workflow, you create a ‘call for ideas’ relating to a specific challenge or issue that your company is facing. Also known as an idea campaign or idea challenge, this is how you ask your audience to submit their ideas and solutions.
2. Collaboration: Grow & Shape your Ideas Together
During the collaboration stage of the workflow your users contribute to idea submissions via features such as comments, voting, and likes. Collaboration allows for ideas to grow and be shaped by other experts in the organization and make them more likely to be implemented.
3. Evaluation: Discover Winning Ideas
Once the collaboration phase is over, the ideas are then evaluated by a review committee. You create the review committee by inviting your chosen experts to form this team. They then evaluate the best and most relevant ideas from the collaboration phase. There are several evaluation methods available on the Qmarkets’ platform such as score cards, idea tournaments, and token voting. The evaluation phase allows you to isolate the best idea submissions for implementation.
4. Implementation: Bring Your Ideas to Life
In this stage you can easily manage the company wide roll out of your selected ideas. You can break down the idea or solution into manageable pieces and assign ownership to relevant team members. You can allocate budget and assign tasks to bring the idea to life and use the software’s analytical tools to measure and report on your idea’s ROI.
Why Should You Use Idea Software?
In a recent discussion on Forbes, they stated that sustainable innovation is the key to staying competitive. Not having an infrastructure in place to support innovation goals is why most organizations fail. “Sustained innovation takes an infrastructure, a framework that maximizes chances for innovations to occur, get developed and succeed — a framework that favors discipline over fortune. It’s not enough to come up with brilliant ideas. You have to follow through, prioritize the ideas and refine the most promising in an iterative process.”
“Sustained innovation takes an infrastructure, a framework that maximizes chances for innovations to occur, get developed and succeed — a framework that favors discipline over fortune”
The power of idea gathering software is in this ability to create a structure and official process for innovation that can be rolled out across your entire organization or specific departments. No longer does innovation have to be a rarity or a flash in the pan, but a goal orientated and achievable strategic activity for your business.
Essentially, the biggest advantage to utilizing idea software is the increase to your bottom-line ROI. Whether your ideas result in disruptive innovation (disrupts current market or creates new market value) or incremental (small changes that continuously improve your product or organization), they have the power to drive growth and save costs across your organization. Our clients at Swiss Post, Switzerland’s national postal service, have collected over 15,000 ideas on the Qmarkets’ platform, which has resulted in added value of $9.5million. One of the ideas implemented allowed them to ‘access a substantial income stream through exposure to a key demographic’.
Increase Diversity of Perspective
Using a digital tool for ideation allows you to easily push your idea campaigns out across your organization. This is particularly helpful in avoiding any siloes, especially between white-collar and blue-collar workers. Our clients at Amer Sports, implemented a strategy that would allow them to engage their office-based workers via digital channels but also made sure to target the blue-collar workers who worked in the factories without direct access to a computer, by setting up ‘submission stations’ for workers to submit their ideas.
Diversity of perspective is required in ideation to increase your chances of generating successful, well rounded ideas that have been evaluated appropriately by differing departments, levels of seniority, and social standing. Understanding that a range of perspectives is integral to innovation will promote diversity and will make you increasingly likely to financially outperform your competitors.
By using idea software to establish a process to gather and implement your employees’ ideas, they will trust that your organization is invested in listening to them. Research also states that innovation has a positive impact on employee performance stating, “innovation will increase the quantity, quality and timeliness of output, attendance on the job, efficiency and effectiveness of work completed”.
It is no secret that engaged employees have increased job satisfaction and result in ‘double the rate of success of lower engaged organizations’, higher retention rates, better customer service, and higher sales (we could go on). It also allows your employees to have a direct impact on the work that they do each day, which is a solid method of increasing your employee engagement rates and reaping the multitude of benefits that this can achieve.
Implementing ideation and a software tool may seem like a fast track to innovation, yet it must be understood that innovation is way of thinking and a culture that needs to be nurtured. When implementing idea management software, it is essential to cultivate engagement and promote the system to your users. This takes effort, an efficient communication plan, and encouragement from leadership to ensure audience adoption.
The success of your ideation campaigns can be dependent on the number of employees you invite. If you don’t have an audience big enough to gather a good amount of ideas to compare and evaluate, this may generate idea bias leading to ineffective ideas being implemented. However, if this is the case, you can also utilize your external audiences such as your customers or partners. This is a good way of gathering ideas that tackle external challenges and gaining an insight into their perspective.
More Than Just Collecting Ideas
Innovation should not be regarded as a buzzword but as a means to stay competitive, differentiate yourselves in the market, generate revenue, and develop new products. In the Forbes ‘World’s Most Innovative Companies’ ranking, the top 10 companies have an average 12-month sales growth of approximately 35%, with Tesla (#4) achieving the highest growth rate at 67.98%. The benefits of using idea management software to implement innovation at your organization are wide and far reaching, but all importantly it is scalable and achieves valuable ROI that can place your business ahead of your competitors.
This blog has only skimmed the surface of the possibilities of idea management and has not dived into the various methodologies of innovation that can be adopted – there is whole lot more to explore, just head to our Innovation blog!
If you want to know more about utilizing idea management software to collect ideas, check out this case study with our clients Swiss Post to see how they managed to generate an impressive ROI value of $9.5million with the Qmarkets’ platform.