Once you have an innovation tool within your company, you might be wondering what process you might implement in order to encourage idea development. We’ve come up with a few best practices below of policies and practices to implement in order to truly get discussions going on ideas and fully utilise idea software:
1. Strengths and Weaknesses – Make a habit of identifying 3 key strengths and 3 key weaknesses of every idea. Quite often when an idea is first introduced, many are wary to comment on it, either worried that they may provide an unwanted critique or that they may make some other situational error. By instituting a habit of encouraging others to provide the key strengths and weaknesses of every idea, you encourage others to provide both positive and negative feedback on all ideas, which should generate further discussions.
2. Major Obstacles – What are the major obstacles of implementing the idea? Is it an issue of time, staff, management, etc.? Once you’ve identified what obstacles are lying in your way, it becomes easier to see the idea as a true potential reality. Or, conversely, it allows you to be realistic about what you can implement and when. With the major obstacles identified, we’re better able to prioritise what ideas need the most focus.
3. Popularity – With the caveat that some ideas are going to be inherently less popular (the end of casual Friday, for example), popularity does matter. Keeping employees motivated and engaged within your company means providing them with positive experiences, and one of the most positive experiences can be the feeling that they are being listened to and that their company is responding to their needs. That’s one of the hugest benefits of idea management software. It allows you to fully gauge which ideas are getting the most comments and votes, which allows you to easily see whether things are popular in a positive or even in a negative way.
4. Implementation Steps – Before you approve an idea or close discussion, figure out the steps towards it’s implementations – and give them timelines! As much as we hate deadlines and for as much stress as they cause, they have a true practical implementation. Design a schedule for the idea’s implementation and stick to it. If you have a person to assign to the task of following up, assign them to it. At the very least, you could always set up an email reminder to yourself to make sure that you remember to check up on the idea.
5. Integration – It’s all well and good to take the above practices and apply them to a couple of ideas, but are you integrating the process into the core of your company? Is everyone aware of the innovation tools you’re harnessing. Is it written into your company policy? Or is it a side project for a few individuals to carry out. Make sure you have this process integrated into your core business model and that employees feel like your idea management software is easy to access and part of their daily life within your company.
Implementing these practices will ensure that your company develops a rich, innovative culture and you will find your innovation tools teaming with useful and insightful ideas.
image credit: twitter.com
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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.