Idea Management for Competitive Advantage

The rapid rise of new technologies and market disruption on the corporate landscape means idea management is more crucial today than ever before. To remain competitive – and capture groundbreaking insights – companies must give employees an engaging, streamlined, and collaborative means to contribute their ideas.

Defining Idea Management

Idea management is the process of finding, developing, and implementing the ideas that can deliver value for an enterprise. It involves setting clear parameters for idea submissions, identifying the target audiences best positioned to contribute ideas (employees, customers, experts, etc), and facilitating communication between stakeholders and idea managers.

The History & Pioneers

The sophisticated practice that is idea management has its antecedents in the humble ‘suggestion box’. Though the origins of this method are not clear, the technique can be traced back as far as the 18th century, when the Japanese shogun placed a box outside his palace to encourage honest suggestions from the military.

The steady advance of digital technology and the rise of the internet soon rendered the physical suggestion box obsolete. By the early 1990s, HR departments in major corporations quickly identified the need for automated employee suggestion processes. This identification led to the rise of idea management software platforms, which evolved from simple idea-databases to more complex systems with collaboration and gamification features.

Notable pioneers of idea management include:

Methodologies & Approaches

There are a variety of effective ways enterprise companies can harness the power of idea management to drive growth through innovation:

  • Kaizen: A Japanese term meaning “change for the better”, Kaizen is a continuous improvement strategy. It entails employees at all levels of a company combining their skills to bring about incremental improvements. Kaizen serves as an effective method for establishing a culture where ideation is encouraged and silos are broken down.
  • Crowdsourcing: The crowdsourcing approach involves targeting select internal or external audiences for innovation projects, incentivising them to contribute ideas, and leveraging their input to achieve business objectives. Approaches for crowdsourcing idea projects can entail using questionnaires, promotions, or even competitions to encourage contributions.
  • Empathy Mapping: A key component of the design-thinking process, empathy mapping involves encouraging customers to submit their experiences relating to the company’s products or services. The key ‘pain or gain’ points expressed by customers and customer-facing staff can generate a map of where innovation efforts need to be focused, as well as inform the focus of ideation challenges.

Idea Management
and its Key Challenges

Fostering a culture of ideation, where participants can take an active part in innovation projects

Incentivizing users to increase participation in idea management campaigns

Filtering submissions to detect and augment ideas with the most potential

Implementing, monitoring, and measuring the ROI of new ideas submitted by your users

What The Experts Say...

"Senior executives almost unanimously (94%) say that people and corporate culture are the most important drivers of innovation."

“Organizations must actively mine and manage the collective wisdom and experiences in the firm’s ecosystem to thrive in an increasingly competitive market.”

"Nothing will propel a company further than a culture of innovation: An atmosphere that inspires employees, every hour they're at work, to seek out innovative opportunities."

"In many organizations, there is an explicit goal of innovating in a way that is culturally inclusive to engage employees as well as benefit from their collective brainpower."

Achieve Your Strategic Business Goals With Idea Management

We all know the statistics. 40% of Fortune 500 companies will be wiped out by disruption in the next decade alone. This means you can’t afford to ignore innovation, regardless of your location, revenue, or industry. But what if you’ve already invested heavily in innovation efforts and not seen an ROI? What if you’ve been given unrealistic targets and need to discover new ways to drive value?

Enter idea management. Tapping into the collective wisdom of your employees allows you to discover, develop, and implement ideas that can have a maximum impact on your bottom line. An engaging idea management system also allows you to cultivate a growth-driving culture of innovation, which can then be harnessed to deliver an ROI against any business challenge or need. 

Employee Suggestion Box

Streamline idea management by implementing an online suggestion box, allowing employees to contribute concepts for new products, services, or process improvements.

Continuous Improvement

Generate ongoing accumulative benefit for your organization by embedding idea management into your company culture through a digital employee ecosystem.

Innovation Management

Discover new ides for disruptive innovation, market opportunities, and technologies, which can facilitate change management at your company.

IDEATE

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Read Gartner’s 2016 Market Guide for Innovation Management Solutions

Read Forrester Wave™: Innovation Management Solutions, 2016

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Read the Info-Tech vendor landscape “Innovation Management Solutions” report

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