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Top 3 Alternative Assets for your Business Innovation Strategy

With every enterprise innovation initiative, the most obvious and commonly prioritized assets are ideas. These are the backbone of innovation and can deliver amazing value, however they are ultimately only one aspect of innovation. In this blog, we will share the additional ‘innovation assets’ that many companies are yet to include in their business innovation strategy.

Ideas – The Most Essential Innovation Asset 

Idea management is the process of finding, developing, and implementing ideas on an enterprise level. In this process, when ideas are submitted, they often follow clear parameters set by the organization. This allows for businesses to focus on specific challenges, and target audiences best suited to address them. Audiences can range from employees, customers, experts, and partners depending on the challenge. They can then submit, collaborate, and evaluate ideas to assess whether they present value for implementation.

Benefits of Crowdsourcing Ideas

Ideas have a huge amount of potential and can result in a variety of benefits for an organization. By establishing a clear process that allows people to share their ideas, it creates an opportunity for creativity. Creativity then facilitates out of the box thinking. This can result in the formation of ideas for new products and strategies, which ultimately can create competitive advantage and deliver incredible ROI.

Organizations can also ask audiences to focus on specific challenges they’re facing. This is especially useful when inviting employees to share ideas. Not just because the business can ask their employees for solutions to strategic problems or for ways to increase competitive advantage, but as a way to embolden their workforce. Once employees trust that there is an established process in which their ideas will be seen, it is more likely that they will take part. This increases the amount of ideas submitted, creativity, and employee satisfaction.

Challenges of Crowdsourcing Ideas

As with most things, there is always a downside! Whilst ideas can deliver amazing results and huge ROI, they can sometimes be vague and unfocused. This can result in a long process of having to evaluate the idea submissions to see whether they can be implemented. Often this is a manual process which can lack in transparency, due to the inability to give feedback on people’s ideas, especially in large enterprises. This can then cause audience disillusionment and fewer idea submissions.

However, these challenges can be negated by establishing a process that allows users to openly collaborate on each other’s ideas. This allows for an idea to be adapted and strengthened as other experts pitch in. With this, ideas have a much better chance of success and implementation, driving further growth. A transparent process in turn encourages user engagement when the user trusts that their idea will be considered and fairly evaluated. More ideas alongside more user engagement, means a higher chance of successful ideas!

Ideas can result in such a huge range of benefits and they should be the foundation for your innovation efforts. But there is so much more to innovation that can provide your organization with an even wider range of benefits.

Top 3 Alternative Innovation Assets

1. Trends – Fueling Your Future Innovations

Trends are an extremely valuable innovation asset that should be part of any business innovation strategy. Trends indicate where you should focus your innovation efforts and can act as the fuel for your ideas. Therefore, within the innovation ecosystem trends can be where your innovation journey starts.

The trend data you gather can be based on anything from new technologies and services to new disruptive business models. This can give your business the advantage of knowing where the future of your industry lies and give you a competitive head start.

Mega trends LR scaled
A mind map of mega trends and technologies, discussing current events and possible trajectories.

Benefits of Crowdsourcing Trends

Facilitate Focused & Efficient Ideation: Within innovation, knowing where to focus your ideas by basing them on trend data is extremely efficient. The trend data itself provides a campaign for which your employees, partners, or experts can then share their ideas on. This is advantageous as it means that you can hone your ideation process early on, creating a much more efficient ideation and productive process.

Strategically Create Competitive Advantage: By gathering data that suggests the future of your industry in support of an efficient and productive ideation process, you are giving your company a competitive edge. Strategically making steps towards increasing your market share.

Challenges of Crowdsourcing Trends

Trusting Trend Data: The predominant issue when it comes to gathering trend data, is choosing which trend to focus your attention on. Trend data is not necessarily concrete, it is often just an indication where an industry may head. Without sufficient information on the trends, businesses cannot make informed decisions about their innovation efforts, so there is an inherent risk to trend management. Often the gamble pays off, but sometimes there is no return on investment and this significantly reduces the value of your efforts.

2. Improvements – Quick Innovation Wins

One of the most common ways for companies to gather improvements is through the concept of ‘continuous improvement’ – a systematic process of optimizing business processes and activities. This differs to the normal parameters of idea generation, as it is entirely focused on improving something that already exists rather than creating something new. Here businesses can utilize their employees to suggest how to improve their company’s efficiency and enhance the performance levels of their teams. The employee becomes their best asset! You might be thinking that an idea and an improvement could be the same thing – and you’re not wrong. However it’s important to look at these two assets separately, because each of them require a unique dedicated approach.

Benefits of Crowdsourcing Improvements

Streamline Processes & Increase Productivity: Your employees know your business the best, which means that their suggestions are likely to be incredibly relevant. Their knowledge of the internal workings of a business can go incredibly far in streamlining processes and cutting the fat. Resulting in an increase in productivity and efficiency, reduced project costs and higher customer service standards.

Increase ROI & Employee Satisfaction: Efficient processes, of course increases ROI for the business, but also employee satisfaction. Employees will also benefit from knowing that their feedback is being considered, as well as from the improvements themselves.

Scalable, Reliable & Repeatable: Implementing continuous improvement is especially efficient when adopting an approach such as the Kaizen method. The Kaizen method involves identifying an issue, planning how it can be improved, executing the changes, and then reviewing the effect. Approaching improvements as such, allows it to become scalable, reliable, and repeatable.

Smaller, Quicker Wins: Improvements can be implemented far quicker than larger disruptive ideas. When this process of improvement is launched across an organization, these small results accumulate into a fine-tuned business environment that can then focus on generating bigger, more disruptive ideas, driving further growth in the long term.

Challenges of Crowdsourcing Optimizations

A Rigid Structure is Recommended: Unlike idea generation, which is agile, continuous improvement needs to be incredibly structured to work. Therefore, adopting a highly structured approach essential, especially in large enterprises. As unless all departments are aligned, it can be difficult to implement these changes.

Dependent on Employee Participation: The challenge of crowdsourcing optimizations is that it’s most effective when the insights are gathered directly from the employees who are facing your issues. If you have tens of thousands of employees distributed globally it can be a challenge to allow them to easily submit their optimizations in an engaging and transparent way.

3. Opportunities – Scout to Stay Ahead

The final asset that might be missing from your business innovation strategy is ‘opportunities’. Opportunity scouting is a fundamental element of innovation. It is the process of pinpointing lucrative opportunities, including mergers & acquisitions and technology partnerships.

Scouting is crucial element in the innovation strategy of the most successful and innovative companies. It’s a great way to get ahead, and a common way for large companies to stay relevant in a quickly changing business world.

Benefits of Crowdsourcing Opportunities

Become a Market Leader: There is huge potential in scouting. Rather than developing an idea from scratch, you can look for a startup that was originally born out of a similar idea but has already developed into a fully formed ready-to-use solution. This can vastly increase the go-to-market speed. Once your company has purchased this new technology, this also prevents it from falling into the hands of your competitors. Ultimately giving you a larger market share and a strong competitive edge.

Expand your Talent and Customer Base: Most of the time M&A  is a high-risk high-reward strategy. When done right, merging, or acquiring a company can mean that you also obtain their talent and their customer base, generating new opportunities for profit.

Big5 MA OverTime
This Crunchbase graph shows the number of acquisitions made by members of tech’s Big Five from 2007 through 2017. 

Challenges of Crowdsourcing Opportunities

Information overload: Scouting for opportunities is perhaps the most difficult – and costly – element to innovation. Purchasing new technology or companies is not a small decision. Businesses need all the correct information, of which there are masses, to strategically evaluate every aspect of an opportunity before going any further. All decision makers also need to have access to the data so a business case can be built, this can make the process somewhat lengthy, and thus inefficient.

Dedicated Solutions for Each Innovation Asset

Whilst the benefits associated with these innovation assets far outweigh the negatives, it is necessary to adopt an approach that tackles the challenges head on. Ultimately, the best way to do this is by digitalizing your innovation process. At Qmarkets we offer a comprehensive suite of crowdsourcing software solutions, tailored specifically to harness all relevant assets across the full spectrum of the corporate innovation ecosystem.

Each solution has been tailored to overcome all of the challenges mentioned above, while allowing you to easily enjoy the amazing benefits they offer.

Summer Product Release EcoSystem
This image shows the full innovation ecosystem and where each of our solutions sit. Our products have been specifically tailored to meet the challenges of each stage of the innovation process.

Q trend gray NoAsterisk

Q-trend has been developed to tackle the challenges faced when collecting trend data, facilitating deep trend analysis and evaluation. Sourced either by using our integration with a global network of trend scouts working across industries to identify Micro, Macro, and Mega trends, or manually added to the system users. Users and experts can score each trend by potential, risk, profitability, technological availability, etc.

Trends can be associated to idea submissions within the Q-ideate solution and seamlessly be moved into the idea workflow for further development. Here the full ideation process can begin, and the trend can be formulated into qualified concepts.

Q optimize1

Q-optimize has been developed to tackle the challenges faced when collecting improvements. Structure is easily achieved with the support of a continuous improvement platform, which can be rolled out across an organization to ensure alignment.

As an ‘improvement’ travels through the workflow, the factors that indicate whether it will eventually be implemented is entirely automated and customizable. Once a suggestion has been submitted it will only continue to the next stage if it meets the pre-determined rules customized by the project leader.

Kanban Tablet v1
This image shows the Kanban opportunity pipeline view within Q-optimize.

Users can see where their suggestion is sitting in the workflow and can see whether it has received any votes etc. As discussed earlier, transparency is key to encouraging user adoption. Users need to see that their suggestions are being properly considered and be given appropriate feedback to trust the process and repeat it to ensure increased ROI.

Q scout2

Q-scout has been developed to tackle the challenges faced when sourcing new opportunities and is designed to empower companies throughout the process helping them search, evaluate and even negotiate.

Q-scout enables large organizations to efficiently identify, develop, and assess opportunities, helping them to make informed decisions. It also helps improve the efficiency of a scouting team by standardizing the various opportunities being examined, in order to better prioritize and compare them, both as standalone options, and in comparison to each other.

The platform features a powerful ‘sonar’ visualization tool, letting you to segment opportunities, forecast risk, cost, and potential. This allows for all decision makers to see the information intuitively mapped out, helping them reach a decision with more ease and efficiency.

Innovation Is More Than Just Ideas…

There are a whole range of alternative innovation assets to consider that can strengthen your innovation efforts. Whilst ideas are the beginning of most innovation strategies, you should not stop there. Ideas should be the foundation of which you develop these additional assets. With this, you could provide your business with the ability to drive growth, adapt, and see massive ROI.

To find out how Qmarkets’ can help you expand your innovation strategy to drive even more growth, don’t hesitate to contact us today. 

Julie Hermans Author
Julie Hermans

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