3 Lessons in Innovation Management from Past Winners

2015 awards part deuxIn considering the qualities of future winners of the 2015 Innovation Awards, perhaps it’s a good idea to look back on the strategies and commonalities of previous winners. While the nature of past winners run the gamut—from international businesses to government agencies, from universities to nonprofit organizations—there are notable pieces of their crowdsourced innovations that are true across the board.

Here are three things about innovation management that we learned from our 2013 and 2014 Innovation Award winners:

  1. Plan ahead. When it comes to crowdsourcing, there is no such thing as “overplanning.” To be prepared for every conceivable eventuality is just good sense. Maybe one of the best ways to do this is by asking questions: How will the ideas and idea platform be moderated? What is the most important desired outcome (e.g. ideas themselves, reduced costs, increased revenue, etc.)? On what kind of timeline are you operating? Ask the questions, and then answer them, and you’ll be moderately prepared.
  2. Be flexible. Plan ahead. That said, plans can always change, and even the best laid plans will most likely need to be adjusted as you embark on the actual journey of innovation. And inevitably, there will be inconceivable eventualities for which you would not have been able to prepare. Don’t be afraid to re-tool your initial plans. Sometimes adaptation is necessary.
  3. Have a concrete, targeted outreach strategy. By far the most commonly mentioned strategy was targeted outreach to audiences. A big part of this is pumping up your network and preparing them prior to enacting an innovation initiative, part of it is incentivizing, and part of it is knowing which audiences you are hoping to include in your idea gathering. Maybe your audience is most present on Twitter, so you use that avenue to invite them to participate. Maybe they prefer Facebook. Maybe they’re old school and respond best to paper mailings. In this day and age, the way that you reach someone makes all of the difference.

If these features look familiar because you’ve utilized them in your own innovation management, or if you have a new take on management that you think would be beneficial for more organizations, we encourage you to apply for the 2015 Innovation Awards. Visit http://ideascale.com/2015-innovation-management-awards/ for more information and to apply.

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