Diversity in human intellect is a somewhat inherent trait that enables us to stay innovative and make necessary adjustments to cope with our environment’s dynamics. That means innovation is a familiar concept for everyone, whether a manager, junior employee, or an entrepreneur. It plays a crucial role in ensuring an organisation’s sustainable growth and ability to maintain a competitive edge. So, what are the success factors for innovation and why do they matter?
Great ideas are considered the forerunners of significant innovations. And this is where idea management comes in. Today’s business environment is more competitive than ever. Unless your company has access to a continuous flow of valuable ideas to generate value for the right stakeholders, there’s a good chance your competitors will outpace you.
Sure, identifying the aspects that make the idea management process successful is just one part of the equation. Putting things into practice is the second part and requires effort. Effective idea management is a systematic approach and needs to be addressed with the same due care and attention as you do with your other business processes. We have compiled the following 6 essential success factors for idea management to help you on your innovation journey.
6 Essential Success Factors for Idea Management
1. Link your idea management system to the relevant processes
Idea generation should not be a separate function. Instead, it should be an integral part of your organisation’s processes, both existing and new ones. It should integrate seamlessly with the actual ways of working on different levels of your company. Remember, each part of your company has a unique goal and process. That means your idea management system must be flexible enough to link to each department or process.
Suppose your sales team intends to improve client satisfaction, the team must gather data about the common issues affecting client satisfaction and analyse it. At the same time, other departments such as HR, accounting, marketing, and procurement department will focus on improving their operations. Therefore, the success of your idea management depends on how well it is linked to these company departments and processes.
2. Get the right idea management tool
Passive techniques like suggestion boxes and feedback forms are not necessarily the most effective tool for streamlining your organisation’s ideation process. Your best bet is to choose an ideation tool that involves all stakeholders in the idea management process, allows scalability, and can successfully link all idea generation activities across different aspects of your organisation.
In this context, the main goal of introducing new tech is to streamline the idea management process to encourage your employees, clients, suppliers, and other stakeholders to participate actively. The tool must be flexible and easily adapt to both anticipated and unanticipated changes in your organisation. The point is having the right idea management tool will streamline the entire process.
3. Engage the right stakeholders
Ideas are often based on the feedback or insights from the partners, workers, consumers, and more. To find real solutions, you also need to find new sources of ideas outside your organisation. Therefore, success is only certain when you engage the right people in every phase of the idea management process.
For example, if you are working on a client-related problem, it makes more sense to engage the client first. It’s also important to engage people interested in the topic or have experience in that subject.
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4. Encourage active and engaging discussions
Having the right people, tools, and methods to collect ideas is a great foundation for a successful idea management process. However, this foundation is useless unless you create a culture where valuable, active, and highly engaging discussions thrive. Too often, various stakeholders are motivated and excited at the beginning, but the conversations will fade unless you do what it takes to keep them going.
5. Involve key decision-makers
A 2018 Global Innovation 1000 survey from PWC revealed that 78% of organisations with high revenue growth rate said that their top executive teams were closely aligned with the research and development program. Keep in mind that managers have a significant influence on performance. After all, the people who submit ideas may not be the same people to make decisions that affect day-to-day operations.
Therefore, leadership involvement in the idea generation and management process is crucial for the success of innovation. This ensures that the most viable options or ideas are implemented and prevent instances where key decisions are made in isolation.
6. Foster transparency
Company-wide cultural support is critical to the success of your idea management process. You must pay attention to transparency and clear communication as these elements affect your organisational culture.
Developing a company culture that upholds transparency improves efficiency across different departments and encourages construction discussions. It also attracts the right people to share honest feedback and opinions freely. When people can see and appreciate each other’s ideas, they feel more encouraged to contribute more.
Idea generation and management are not something that happens once. It is an ongoing process that needs constant iteration. So, make it a habit to evaluate the performance of your idea management and make the necessary changes.
Aristotle once said,
“Excellence is not an act, but a habit.”