With crowdsourced innovation now a proven profit maker – many companies are rushing to initiate innovation programs and deploy innovation management platforms. Despite the success of these systems, however, many senior managers are still wary of them. This post will offer a few tips to help you get started with your very first innovation management project.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. But when it comes to taking that first step, some innovation managers are still wary of implementing an innovation management process or system in their own company.
Many of these concerns are standard for any leader who might be considering spearheading a software implementation project: Will the platform be used? Do we have the budget? Will I have time? And then of course there are issues which are specific only to innovation and idea management software: Does our company need to innovate? Will we only get silly or unrealistic ideas? How will we implement the good ones?
While not all of these concerns are unfounded, in my experience I’ve found that many of them are unnecessary. Through this blog I will attempt to address some of these issues, and help you to realize that there is no reason to be intimidated by an innovation software project, or any software project for that matter.
Initial Concerns for the Innovation Management Process
Probably the most common concern which I hear from many project leaders is simply, time. Will you be able to find the resources that will be required to implement and maintain an innovation software project?
It can sometimes seem like the workload might be overwhelming, but more often than not the complex decisions or processes become simplified when speaking to someone who is able to provide you with all of the answers you need. This is where it becomes valuable to work with an experienced vendor who has experience with your specific industry and challenges, which is something Qmarkets now boasts for the vast majority of use cases.
The next concern which usually appears is budgetary. How can your company justify an expenditure on a project which is not central to business operation? As with most mathematical questions, this quandary is easy to solve once you have all the data, and in this case the missing data is the return which other companies see on their innovation management investment. And while many companies are understandably cautious when it comes to revealing specific profit margins, out of our customers that shared this information, 100% have seen a significant ROI within their first year of using the platform.
No Frills Attached… At First
As my colleague Joel highlighted in an insightful blog, the most important thing to remember with the innovation management process is that you can start small and expand. One of the biggest mistakes you can make, is spending an extended period configuring a platform without first testing it out. You are looking for a turn-key solution which is designed based on best practice experience from a variety of projects.
The platform you select should be one that is ready for use out of the box, to be added to your existing processes like a comfortable sweater over your shirt. You don’t want to be tugging on this end and pulling on that end before you know if the sweater fits to begin with.
However, just because the platform is simple and is ready to use from the get-go, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take some time to configure the system. Experiment with building different ideas and processes, and learn how to address common issues the users inside your company will have. However don’t worry if you can’t cover everything, with Qmarkets we’re able to start basic and add the frills further down the line when you know exactly what you want.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
A commonly effective method is to start with a pilot program, with only one section or one department. Take one idea and run it through the innovation management process from start to finish. This will give you the ability to judge for yourself how you want the system to operate and what departments to implement the system into. Another advantage to going slow is so you can see how to configure the system to match each individual department’s needs. Your Marketing department and the IT department focus on different aspects of your product, so tailor the platform to match their needs.
Short and Sweet
Your employees know how to use the platform, your IT professionals know how to provide support for any questions your users might have, and your pilot program was a success. Time to rev up the engine and hit the road, right? Not necessarily. This situation is very similar to training to run a marathon. You do your exercises, you eat right, and you’ve got your good pair of running shoes.
But you can’t run the full 42km yet. You start by running 1km, then you go up to 5km, make it up to 10km, and slowly but surely you build yourself up to a point where you can run a full marathon.
The metaphor applies here as well. You will get to the point where your company is smoothly running numerous instances of years-long processes run with the top innovation best practices.
But start off with smaller campaigns, a month or two long, and work yourself up. Trying to take on more than you can handle will not only arrest your advancement, but can also adversely affect your ongoing processes.
A Friendly Solution –start edition
start edition is the culmination of over 8 years of experience in the innovation management sector. This Qmarkets’ turn-key solution uses design best practices to reliably generate valuable business results.
This makes start edition ideal for use with emerging SMEs, or for specific business units within larger organization as part of a trial or pilot. start edition:
✔ Ready to use product that comes pre-loaded with everything you need to run a successful program
✔ Quick and easy setup – with deployment in as little as a week
✔ Short campaigns which are ideal for time-limited challenges
✔ Custom branding, with a design that is fitted to your colors and corporate identity
Put start edition to the test and find out just how easy it can be to effectively initiate your company’s idea or innovation management process. Contact a member of Qmarkets’ team today to receive a free live demonstration!