It’s easier to begin a project than to take it to fulfillment and easier to rest on your laurels than to keep pushing. We’ve all learned this, whether it’s that new hobby or a newly launched business, and it also applies to ideas. In the beginning stages, collecting ideas is easy. But does your idea management software help your team when the hill begins to slope upward?
The Idea Cycle
The beginning of any innovation process is freeform, creative, and even fun. There are few, if any, restrictions, and people can throw anything at the wall to see what sticks. It’s when the process advances that it becomes tougher.
Ideas need to be refined. Even the best ideas started out in an extremely rough form, and often serve as little more than the ultimate end goal. It’s filling in the details that can be complicated, and in fact, often requires more from your software. Once those details are in place, implementation and data become key. In other words, you have the idea, you refine the idea, you launch the idea, and then the cycle begins again.
There are two approaches to this cycle. The first is opaque; team members have ideas, and those ideas vanish into a committee or some other black box and pop back out, sometimes almost totally different, with no explanation. The second is transparent; everyone involved not only offers ideas but helps with the refinement and implementation process.
Effective innovation management software is transparent all the way through. First, this helps maintain momentum behind an idea, especially if it’s a good idea with more challenging details toward implementation. You can draw on your entire community, whether it’s everyone in your team, workplace, or the crowd from which you sourced, and you can embrace multiple perspectives from stakeholders. Instead of a mysterious process where people are shut out, it’s an inclusive process where everyone understands what works and what doesn’t.
Second, this approach allows you to collect “lessons learned” throughout the process and apply them to the next round of innovation. Good software documents these lessons and makes them easily accessible, and can even spin off into other ideas as the community focuses on how to overcome those challenges. When you hit the next round of the cycle, you’ll likely face an entirely different landscape from your previous round.
Finally, it offers accountability and discussion. If an idea has to change due to the needs of some stakeholders, the software can enable a clear analysis and discussion of what happened and why. It’ll help everyone in your organization better understand not just the idea, but the various stakeholders with whom they interact. This will impact not just their work on the idea, but all the work that they do.
The idea cycle is constant, and you need effective management of it to stay on top as a company. Effective idea management software won’t just keep your company current and relevant, it will help your team better understand who the ideas are for. To learn more about idea management software, join our newsletter.