Idea Management Strategy
Suppose you feel your living space is too small and something needs to change. Would you start tearing down walls and putting up new ones to increase square footage or would you first decide what you want to achieve with the change, and whether an addition to the house will help? You would probably first determine the purpose of the new space before tearing down existing walls, setting the dimensions for the space, choosing paint colors, setting a timeframe, investing in the construction materials, right?
What is it that you want to achieve with your idea management program?
Whether you’re looking to upgrade your employee suggestion box, or use idea software to launch a new idea management program, one of the first decisions to make when planning for innovation is to determine your strategy for success. If your initiative is a success, what would this success look like? Do you aim to address an existing gap? Do you want to increase customer satisfaction? Do want to improve internal business processes? Are you hoping to see a direct impact on bottom-line metrics?
Are innovation objectives aligned with your company’s strategic agenda?
Idea management programs can be costly, but when they help you better meet the company’s strategic agenda, they are well worth the investment. On the other hand, an innovation initiative may be genius and destined to succeed, but if it does not help the company get closer to its mission, why bother? Assessing this connection between your idea management strategy and the company’s goal will help keep you on track to make careful investments. If your program is successful, and the company wins, you may also win the support of senior leaders for future programs as they see the benefits of innovation.
How will you know whether your idea program is working?
Once you know what you want to accomplish and why it is important to the company, how will you know if you are successful? Before getting started, effective innovators set the criteria for success, so they know what they are aiming to achieve, in concrete terms. How do you measure innovation success? This will depend on what you hope to achieve. Some common innovation metrics include looking at the impact of the innovation. For example, after implementation, does the company gain a larger share of the market? Do you see better customer service ratings? Are you able to conduct business processes at a faster rate? And so on, and so on.
Effective innovators look for indicators of success here, too. For example, how many innovative ideas did employees submit and how did the company implement them? What percentage of revenues came from new products and services? How quick is the turnaround between idea suggestion and implementation? Idea programs are naturally creative and often bring you into unchartered territories. While they require flexibility and even risk-taking, the same rules of proper planning and goal setting apply. Use them to set your program up for success!