I joined IdeaScale in October of 2020, just before the “second wave” of COVID infections hit the US and an election unlike any other was about to take place. I was feeling stuck and eager to be a part of something bigger than myself, specifically an organization that cared a great deal about what was happening in the world around us, and how we can contribute to making it better. Also I learned quickly that caring about the world around us, starts with innovation, and it didn’t hurt when I found IdeaScale’s core values:
- Deep Customer Empathy
- Embrace vulnerability
- Values driven
- Empower diversity
- Live your true character
- On Purpose
- People first
Though I came strapped with plenty of knowledge from previous Customer Success and Account Management roles, I wasn’t feeling challenged or excited about my work. I knew I was ready to take on a new challenge and learn something completely new, and what better starting place than to learn about “crowdsourced innovation management.” What were these mysterious buzzwords and what did they mean? Well, to sum it up, I learned that it is a business practice that engages crowds with the goal of generating new ideas and co-creating solutions, but it really is so much more than that. I’ve learned a ton so far about crowdsourced innovation and here are the top 3 lessons I’ve learned so far:
I learned that Innovation is critical RIGHT NOW. A lot of organizations put their innovation programs on hold when the pandemic struck, now is the best possible time to gather ideas to help shape your business post COVID. The McKinsey Innovation through Crisis survey stated that innovation should happen now. If organizations focus energy on innovation now, these efforts can drop down significantly during economic recovery. More than 35% of our customers have launched COVID campaigns to seek solutions to challenges brought on by the pandemic, and participation in these campaigns have increased as employees want to share their thoughts.
Setting up your campaign is only step one. What’s the point of having a campaign around innovation if the ideas you’re collecting aren’t actionable? According to the 2020 State of Crowdsourced Innovation Report, all ideas need to be:
Desirable: Ensure that this solution is important to those that you’re serving – your customers, your employees, your public. How will you determine that this idea is meaningful?
Feasible: Ensure that this solution is within the realm of possibility. Do more research to determine what the solution requires in order to plot an initial course for success.
Viable: Ensure that you can assign the necessary resources and that an organization can sustain the cost and values to create a sustainable business model. How will you test this against your organization’s existing resources?
Vettable: Ensure that decision makers, influencers, and outliers can understand and articulate the value of your idea back to you. If you can’t pitch it to your organization’s gate keepers, it will never see the light of day. How will you demonstrate that an idea has value?
My final lesson is certainly one of my favorites, and it’s all about diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Our webinar with Change-Ready Solutions explained that:
- Businesses run by culturally diverse leadership teams were more likely to develop new products
- Companies with more women were more likely to introduce radical new innovations into the market over a two-year period
- Firms with greater diversity are 45% more likely to grow market share over the previous year, and 70% more likely to capture a new market
- Firms with more ethnic and racial diversity in management are 35% more likely to have returns above the industry mean and 2x the innovation revenue versus companies with below average diversity in management
It’s clear from these statistics that a combination of software and culture leads to more voices at the table and more voices leads to more interesting and more surprising ideas.Therefore, it is easy to see that diversity, equity and inclusion aren’t just the right thing to prioritize, but they’re a good business decision.
If you weren’t convinced before, it’s evident that IdeaScale is a great place to be for innovation teams. I’m extremely excited to be a part of an organization that encourages growth and change during such unprecedented times, and I hope you are too!