There may have been a time – a decade or two ago – when businesses could look at innovation as optional, but everything has changed since then. Today the question is not whether to innovate, but how to do so as efficiently as possible.
At the same time, however, companies know they can’t transform in ways that leave their customer bases feeling unsettled or abandoned, or in ways that could damage the company’s reputation. How can companies balance the need to innovate efficiently with the need to reassure long-time customers?
Innovation technology is the answer, and one powerful component of innovation technology is idea management technology. After all, even the most powerful innovations start out as an idea. Here’s where the innovation technology landscape used to be, and where it is now.
The Suggestion Box Should Be Left in the Past
Have you ever worked at a business that had a locked suggestion box? If so, you probably never saw anyone ever retrieving a handful of ideas from one, let alone implementing any of them. Suggestion boxes gave some indication that the company was open to innovation, but that was about all they did.
One of the main problems was that they weren’t campaign-focused, so people weren’t really sure what they were for. If someone folded up an idea and slipped it into a suggestion box, they rarely learned what became of it. People’s attitudes were eventually, “Why bother?”
Finally, the suggestion box made it difficult to ensure that any ideas collected were evaluated on a timely basis, or that they were matched up with the proper personnel who were qualified to evaluate or fund them.
Campaign-Focused Calls for Ideas Are Better
As the need for innovation has made itself apparent in the last few years, more companies have put out campaign-focused calls for ideas. These are more effective than suggestion boxes, particularly when companies create teams specifically responsible for evaluating ideas and prioritizing them.
Still, however, assembling a team, requesting ideas, and then sitting back and waiting for them to come in doesn’t exactly inspire people to submit their great ideas. People generally won’t bother writing up their ideas if they haven’t a clue what the evaluation criteria are, or if they never see employee ideas being developed, funded, and implemented.
Idea Management Technology Understands Today’s Business Reality
New idea management technology is the key to innovating at the pace of today’s business world demands. Today, software solutions exist specifically so companies can call for campaign-focused ideas and have structured processes in place to gather, evaluate, prioritize, fund, and develop them. Such tools are web-based so that everyone (even in a geographically dispersed workforce) can participate.
The best idea management technology allows significant customization. Custom idea-capture forms are one example. Likewise, evaluation criteria can be customized to the company’s needs. Evaluation workflows with checks and balances ensure that submitted ideas get the attention they deserve, and collaboration and sharing features help teams match the right ideas to the right personnel.
Furthermore, unlike the suggestion boxes of old, the idea management technology of today delivers transparency. An employee can submit an idea, and then track its progress as it goes through the evaluation process. This makes idea submission worth employees’ effort.
Finally, today’s idea management technology allows for automatic data collection at every stage, so that it’s easier for companies to track ideas from inception to completion, and to calculate return on investment.
IdeaScale is idea management technology that puts the power of innovation in the hands of any company determined to innovate with maximum impact and maximum efficiency. It incorporates social collaboration, sharing and communication, feedback tools, content sharing, and even CRM so that people want to share their innovative ideas. It gives companies the tools they need to bring winning ideas into production.
IdeaScale encourages you to download our free infographic titled The Innovation Technology Ecosystem to learn more. You are also invited to join our newsletter to stay informed on innovation technology in business.