Ever 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!
Simon 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.