Idea Overload? Why process matters with idea software

Idea Overload? Why process matters with idea softwareEver find yourself overwhelmed by the volume of ideas coming through your idea management system? Idea software is a very valuable tool to aid idea generation and capture but without clear systems and processes for capturing and filtering ideas you could find yourself with a huge amount of ideas and no way of sensibly filtering and evaluating them.

To avoid becoming overwhelmed by a flood of ideas it’s important to establish some key processes before implementing a new idea management programme. Setting goals and establishing criteria by which to filter and evaluate ideas are the key points to address.

Set goals and evaluation criteria

  • Prioritise the goals and areas you want to focus on, realistic yet challenging goals will motivate staff. Try and establish some quick wins.
  • Decide who is going to be involved. Will all locations and all departments be involved? Will there be any early adopters?
  • Establish any required time frames or deadlines that may be imposed due to organisational business planning etc.
  • Develop your idea challenges based on business needs and make it clear who these challenges are aimed at.
  • Define criteria against which to evaluate ideas later on – this will help you filter ideas and decide which to take forward and help maintain a clear, transparent system.

Filter and track ideas that are coming through your idea software

  • Establish any gate processes and triggers, such as when to get decision-makers involved, when to use moderators, when to communicate feedback and a process for assigning owners to approved ideas.
  • Consider timeframes. Don’t let ideas stagnate – make sure a decision is made in a reasonable timeframe on submitted ideas and that an implementation plan is put together once an idea is signed-off.
  • Monitor progress of ideas - track what ideas are getting signed off, being held or rejected. Are there any patterns emerging?  Keyword trends, related ideas, what areas are the majority of ideas being generated in?
  • Make sure employees know what is happening to their ideas and why. Communicate what stage they are at, why they are on hold, why they have been signed-off or rejected. It is just as important to communicate why an idea has been rejected as it is to explain why an idea has been signed-off. This will help users to refine their ideas for future and maintain transparency in the system.
  • Make sure you establish how ideas are going to be implemented – allow the time and resources to make this happen.  If a lack of resource or organisational barriers mean ideas cannot be taken forward this may have a negative impact on perception of the system.
  • Don’t forget to celebrate signed off ideas!

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Idea Overload? Why process matters with idea softwareSimon Hill is CEO and co-founder of Wazoku, an idea software company, an Associate Director with the Venture Capital Firm FindInvestGrow and an active member of the London technology and entrepreneurial community.

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