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 of Idea Management

  • Academic
  • Corporate
  • Pioneer

If you don’t know where you’ve come from, you don’t know where you’re going. This interactive timeline can help you map the future of your idea management efforts by helping you understand the past…

and so, the journey begins...

1770s

Origins of the Suggestion Box

1770s

Origins of the Suggestion Box

The humble suggestion box can be traced back to the 1770s in Britain, when the Royal Navy introduced a suggestion box to enable sailors to submit often controversial suggestions – without fearing reprisals from their superior officers.

1908

Shoichi Saito

1908

Shoichi Saito

The Toyota employee (and later 3rd chairman) whose revolutionary suggestion methodology developed in the 1960s helped lay the foundations for the ‘Kaizen’ system - used in thousands of offices today.

1940s - 1980s

Development of the Kaizen System

1940s - 1980s

Development of the Kaizen System

American manufacturing experts from a variety of sectors are tasked with assisting the Japanese with their rebuilding efforts. Their quality management strategies were adopted and combined with the adaptive, tenacious, and waste-reducing qualities of local businesses to produce the ‘Kaizen’ system – (translating to “change for the better”). 

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powerful continuous improvement methods!

1949

Ray Dalio

1949

Ray Dalio

A billionaire investor and hedge fund manager who refined the notion of ‘idea meritocracy’ – an evaluation approach that emphasizes that the best ideas should always be actualized, regardless of the person who developed them. Dalio's popular ideation and management strategies are explored in his acclaimed book Principles for Success.

1970s

The Colruyt 'Green Telephone' System

1970s

The Colruyt 'Green Telephone' System

Multinational Belgian retail conglomerate 'Colruyt' implements green telephones in their stores. Employees could use these phones to share their ideas directly with management. From there, an idea would be passed on to the relevant decision makers and evaluated for implementation. The 'green phone' system is an interesting analogue precursor to the modern online idea management platform. 

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Colruyt Group
customer case study

“An idea not coupled with action will never get any bigger than the brain cell it occupied.”

Arnold H. Glasgow

1980

Scott Belsky

1980

Scott Belsky

Acclaimed American entrepreneur Scott Belsky is the author of the seminal work Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality. Belsky has undertaken pioneering research in the areas of idea life cycle analysis and idea implementation.

1990s

The Rise of the Internet & Productivity Software

1990s

The Rise of the Internet & Productivity Software

During the 1990s, the meteoric rise of the internet enabled the ‘kaizen’ method of idea management to take place on a much larger scale. The advent of email meant that ideas could be sent anonymously with unprecedented speed. New productivity software and databases - such as ODBC, Microsoft Excel, Lotus, and Access - meant that ideas could be efficiently compiled and modified. 

1997

The Formalization of Empathic Design

1997

The Formalization of Empathic Design

D. Leonard. and J.F Rayport codify the 5 stages for empathic design - a customer-centric form of ideation that aims to implement a user's feelings toward a product in the design process. These stages include Observation, Capturing Data, Reflection and Analysis, Brainstorming, and Developing prototypes. These stages would go on to inform the best-practice setup of online idea management platforms. 

2000s

The Emergence of Online Idea Management Platforms

2000s

The Emergence of Online Idea Management Platforms

The increasingly disruptive nature of the digital corporate landscape meant that innovation took on a whole new dimension of importance. Companies began searching for more sophisticated collective intelligence solutions to crowdsource and refine ideas. This demand has led to the development of more sophisticated online idea management tools– enabling managers to set the focus for idea campaigns, open them up for submissions, and allow participants  to comment and upvote ideas submitted by peers. 

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Q-ideate!

Modern Idea
Management

Now you’re ready to carve out your own place in the history of idea management!

What are you waiting for?

The Innovation Ecosystem

Discover how idea management solutions can drive value at your enterprise! 

Front End Discovery
Innovate & Craft
Commercialize
Q-trend*
Gather, track, and share relevant industry trends, in order to inspire your users to submit enriched ideas to your innovation program.
Q-empathize
Identify the biggest struggles of your customers, end users and employees by involving them in the design thinking process, in order to find meaningful patterns for ideation boosts.
Q-open
Involve large numbers of external ecosystem stakeholders (such as Customers, Business Partners, Experts Communities, Academia, Startups & Entrepreneurs, and even Citizens) in an open collective intelligence initiative.
Q-scout
Trace, evaluate and manage scouting opportunities for technology usage, joint-ventures, mergers, partnerships & acquisitions with this advanced tech scouting tool.
Q-ideate
The leading idea management solution for capturing the collective intelligence of employees to generate ground-breaking results.
Q-optimize
Maximize the results of continuous improvement and performance excellence initiatives by leveraging the collective intelligence of your employees.
Q-project*
Your dedicated mini-project management module, designed to help you build a business case for your innovation and manage its implementation from end to end.

By developing an idea management ecosystem, you can target key objectives, streamline the evolution of new innovation insights, and ensure they are implemented effectively. This graphic provides a visual overview of how an innovation funnel can help you harness, develop, and unleash new ideas for maximum impact.

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Intelligence Solutions

Idea Management Methodologies

There are a variety of effective ways enterprise companies can harness the power of idea management to drive growth through innovation. A sophisticated online idea management tool will be able to accommodate each of the following methodologies:

CO-STAR™

Utilizing best-practices honed in Silicon Valley, CO-STAR is a powerful iterative idea management methodology. The name is an acronym for the different stages of the approach: 

1.) Customer – understanding their demographics and needs

2.) Opportunity – which ideas will likely have the biggest impact with these customers

3.) Solution – finding the best way to launch the idea

4.) Team – deciding on the personnel who can implement the solution

5.) Advantage/Alternatives – seeing what strategic gains can be acquired from the solution, and what alternative options are available if it fails

6.) Results – measuring the ROI gained as a result of the idea

The CO-STAR™ methodology is widely practiced in over 39 countries. It is often used to inform the core structure of prominent idea management platforms.

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.

Other idea management methodologies include:

Competitive Ideation
An incentivization approach in which senior executives offer rewards for ideas that enable the company to achieve substantial ROI. These rewards could take the form of a gift, a cash prize, or even the chance to earn a percentage of the ROI the new idea achieves.

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.

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.

Achieve Your Strategic Business Goals With an Idea Management Tool

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

Leading Global Enterprises Innovate with Qmarkets!

Your Q-360 Suite of Collective Intelligence Solutions

Discover Qmarkets’ next-gen product portfolio, tailored to meet any business need or challenge.

Resounding Accolades

Discover why Qmarkets is consistently recognized by leading analysts as a multi-award winning solution.

Read G2's 2020 Spring Grid Report for Idea Management Software

Read Gartner’s 2016 Market Guide for Innovation Management Solutions

Read Forrester Wave™: Innovation Management Solutions, 2016

Read MWD Advisors' report on Qmarkets’ packaged approach to innovation, 2018

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

Gain Powerful Idea Management Insights from Colruyt Group

In this insight-packed Innovator Spotlight case study, Eef Wilgenhof from Colruyt Group shares her experiences managing the company’s IDnet project with Qmarkets’ cutting edge idea management platform.

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Get Your Free Copy of the Spring 2020 G2 Idea and Innovation Management Report!

Struggling to decide which idea management solution will best support innovation at your company? Check out this comparative analysis of the vendor landscape and find the right partner for your initiative.

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