5 Tips for Using Idea Management Systems and Software

5 tips for getting the most from idea/innovation administration applications

by Rod Dunne on January 3, 2012

in Innovation

An idea management system is software that furnishes companies with a systematic method of evaluating new ideas and developing innovative approaches to conduct business. In this post, I’ll show you five crucial tips for using such software and systems for getting the most out of your innovations.

The preamble

Innovation is tremendously important in a highly competitive marketplace and informational technology is constantly changing and adapting.

Companies that lead with new ideas and exploit the latest trends bypass their competitors. In tough economic times, companies that innovate not only weather the storm but also seize opportunity for enhanced profits and success. In business you’ll find there are always companies that thrive in any economic situation.

The birth & nurturing of innovative ideas

New ideas can also cause problems if not carefully managed. If too many company resources are committed to investigating frivolous or unworkable ideas, the bottom line can suffer.

Idea management software enables companies to process ideas efficiently, filtering out duplications, weak concepts, or ideas that are cost prohibitive. A disciplined approach to innovation can create an environment where new ideas get the attention they deserve.

Steps (& benefits) in the process include the following:

  • The system provides a way to generate innovative business ideas. Most businesses began as a simple idea or concept. Active companies need new ideas for engineering, marketing, advertising and manufacturing. Customer forums can suggest what consumers are looking for and companies can seek ways to meet these demands.
  • The system weeds out the obvious losers from ideas generated in each department. Innovation can be hard to define, but it is possible to set some basic guidelines that eliminate redundancy, ideas that have already been tried, or areas in which the company is not prepared to move at the present time. The ideas that remain after the filtering process receive further attention.
  • The next step is collaboration to investigate the workability of proposals. Most new concepts will involve several departments and each area provides a representative to analyze the proposals.
  • The ideas are assessed for relative strength and how they may further corporate goals or lead the company in a new direction. The effect of new product ideas on budget is considered.
  • Those ideas that survive the analytical challenges and are judged sound must be properly implemented. Successful implementation may require input from many departments.
  • Once new ideas are in play, it is important to judge whether the actual performance provides the anticipated benefits.

Corporations have limited time and resources. Ideas are often easy to find, but the way ideas are prioritized, assessed and executed can be very difficult to institutionalize in a manner that does not inhibit creativity.

An idea management system accomplishes these objectives when properly utilized. Software can access the social networks for raw data, solicit employee input through suggestion box ideas, or provide forms for capturing ideas from multiple sources.

Finally, the five tips for using idea management systems and software

Software tools can be used to assign employees to investigate solutions to company problems in a given area. It is not necessary to wait for ideas; software can encourage idea development along certain lines when companies need a new approach in a given area. The following are five tips for getting the most from innovation management software.

  1. Ideas that are not fully implemented can still be of value. Idea data analysis software encourages collaboration and sharing between departments, which can provide substantial benefits for organizing and streamlining operations. Many ideas that are not adopted as company policy can still enhance performance of individual employees or departments.
  2. Monitoring the results of ideas previously implemented can help management fast-track new ideas more effectively. Online technology has provided many benefits for business, but these knowledge-based systems can be difficult to analyze. An idea management system can monitor the impact of online technology and evaluate how much profit it generates for the company.
  3. These systems can increase a company’s speed for implementing ideas. Information technology moves quickly and the first with a new concept often captures the lion’s share of the market. Business can use these systems to accelerate their speed to market.
  4. The system will show which areas produce the best ideas. Managers can then focus resources on pursuing further development in those key areas. Borrowing ideas is a time-honored business strategy, but in this case management is encouraging more new ideas from areas that have proven successful.
  5. The old-fashioned paper suggestion box has been updated with software management of employee proposals. Managers should utilize this area for potential ideas as much as possible because it will enhance employee loyalty. When ideas originate from any department or employee, those people with good ideas will be encouraged to submit them.

Large corporations often develop an “us verses them” mentality between departments. Idea management helps restore communication and can be carried a step further. Managers can use the software and systems to temporarily switch employee jobs or areas of responsibility in the pursuit of innovation.

This practice can be institutionalized and regular rotations can become an integral part of the job. This innovation can eliminate communication barriers and create an environment where innovation flourishes. Different perspectives often lead to astonishing breakthroughs when new eyes observe old practices.

Remember: Software management of innovation enhances productivity, encourages and rewards creativity, strengthens communication, and accelerates speed to market of new ideas.

Suggested Tools: The GetVetter online idea management system is a recent entry to the market worth a consideration.

Author Rod Dunne...

Blog owner and sole writer Rod DunneI am the owner and sole writer on Product-ivity.com. This is my personal blog detailing troubleshooting tips for small businesses. Posts are based upon 2 decades in consultancy & innovation management within startups/maturing companies.

Get Email Updates (it’s Free)

Comments on this entry are closed.