Idea management is one of the greatest challenges that an organization running an innovation challenge or a continuous idea program will face. Our company tends to think that this is a good problem to have — as long as management can get a handle on the mounting pile of thoughts and suggestions they receive.
Wondering how you can pick out the best idea? Here is where you should start.
1. Track the Ideas
This obvious but often overlooked step is essential in ensuring successful innovation in the workplace. You cannot manage what you cannot measure, and the first stop is to have a central place to collect ideas. Whether you choose to use our unique spreadsheet (perfect for those who are running an idea program through email), create your own platform, or use idea management software, there must be a common gathering place for ideas.
2. Tap into the Wisdom of Your Workers
One of an organization’s greatest strengths can be found in their employees. These front-line workers are a major but unappreciated source of insight, as they’re constantly battling inefficiencies and confronting problems that have small to wide scale impacts on your business. Do not ignore their feedback. Your staff is key in helping you fix real problems affecting your organization and its bottom line.
3. Focus on Feasibility
Finally, the idea that you are choosing to run with must be feasible. Managers are already notoriously risk averse, and this is especially true when it comes to larger corporations. In order to ensure the success of your idea program, you must present management with an achievable idea. Yes, these ideas will likely be smaller, but they are less daunting and far more likely to get pushed through. As you continue to bring up value-boosting ideas and gain momentum, leadership will gradually support bigger and bolder ideas as their confidence grows.
There is strategy involved in picking a “winning” idea, and it involves patience and persistence on everyone’s part. Big ideas may be the obvious “winner,” but they will ultimately fail if leadership is not prepared for them. Start small to prove to yourself, the leadership team, and especially the employees who are creatively thinking of these ideas that they are useful and are going to be implemented. As your program continues to grow and mature, those smaller “winning” ideas will become larger and more valuable.