Brainstorming is the beginning of idea management, but only the beginning. To keep the momentum going, idea management needs to clear away hurdles you may unintentionally put in the way.
“Whose Job Is It?”
Ideas need people to refine and implement them, but who that should be isn’t necessarily immediately clear. There are some people who will insist it’s not their job, others who don’t have the tools, and still others struggling to find the time. Find the person who can take on the task of shepherding an idea through your organization and give them the tools they need to do the job. These can be resources, time with colleagues, or even just a day of the week they’re allowed to carve out for themselves and sit with the idea, chewing it over.
“Who Gets Credit?”
Any great innovation will have at least one story about somebody getting stiffed, or at least believing that to be true, on the credit. If there’s a prize on the line, this can be particularly bitter. Don’t think that just because the prize is a small one, there won’t be disputes.
There are a number of ways around this hurdle, such as software that carefully tracks ideas from their inception to their completion. Have a plan in place to discuss this objection and mediate the dispute amicably. The key focus to remember is that this is for the collective good of the team, not individual benefit.
“Who Pays For It?”
Even organizations with piles of money to burn still are accountable for how that money is spent, and idea management can be a particularly tricky area about which to have these discussions. Still, they’re discussions worth having, and this doesn’t have to be a complicated hurdle. Sit down with stakeholders and discuss workflow and what they need to see to dedicate funds to an idea.
Don’t forget, time is also a resource that needs to be carefully spent. Team members with other demands will, quite fairly, ask how much of their time you’re going to spend and what the value will be.
Running with an idea is fundamentally a risk, and thus the question at the back of almost everyone’s mind is “What happens if I make the bet and don’t win?” Make it clear that people who sign on aren’t sticking their necks out and that there won’t be blame assigned if things don’t work out as planned. Even an idea that ultimately doesn’t pan out is still time well spent from which everyone can learn.
“Can We Do Better?”
Sometimes the hurdles we have to overcome to launch innovation require innovation in and of themselves. In some cases, it may simply be an institutional mentality, but in other instances, there are some very good reasons these hurdles have been so hard to clear in the past. Before trying to leap over, or bash through, an obstacle, sit down with it, look at it from all angles, and see if you can turn a hurdle for you into a step up for everyone.
When you’re ready to see the power of innovation in action, contact us to get started!