How to Execute on Ideas

How to Execute on IdeasAs we’ve discussed before, once you’ve arrived at a clear decision, it is critical to act on the decision. A common pitfall at this point is inaction. Too many ideas reach decision, only to lay fallow without action. Inaction results in effort wasted, opportunities missed, and value lost for your organization.  Implementing ideas is the key to delivering significant and measurable value to your organization and stakeholders, and setting yourself up for robust crowd engagement in the next round of crowdsourcing.

To this end, we recommend the following best practices:

Specify each decision or conclusion.

I recently read a book called Crucial Conversations. In the chapter called “Move to Action,” the authors describe four key components to a well defined decision or conclusion…

  1. Who is responsible? It is essential to assign a name to each responsibility. “Everybody’s business is nobody’s business…’We’ is code for “not me.”
  2. What are the expectations? Specify the target outcome. Clarify the details of the deliverables.
  3. When is the deadline?  Each assignment requires a timeline with milestones. “Assignments without deadlines are far better at producing guilt than stimulating actions.”
  4. How will you follow up? Decision makers should define their expectations around follow-up. What is the method for follow up and how frequently should the implementation team follow-up?  That is, shall the team follow up with weekly emails or with periodic posts to the IdeaScale community, or through some other method? “If you want people to feel accountable give them an opportunity to account. Build an expectation for follow up into every assignment.”

You can do all of this in IdeaScale with a simple refine stage. If you would like a more sophisticated method for making assignments, you can also use our team build or idea ownership features.

Act on each decision

While the lead and team are implementing the idea, periodically check in on progress and support the team in resolving issues as they arise.

Report back to the community and stakeholders

And finally, it is absolutely essential that the lead and team report back to the community and stakeholders.  I recommend requiring that ideas teams report back on:

  • Tangible Benefits
  • Intangible Benefits

Tangible benefits are net value or return on investment. Intangible benefits are  lessons learned or the organizational priorities and values that were supported through the implementation of the idea. You can see how you’d report on this in IdeaScale below.

This is your best engagement tool. People want to participate in a program that is making an impact and effecting real change in the world. So don’t miss the opportunity to capture data on that impact once the idea is implemented. You will also appreciate this after 6 months or 1 year has passed and a colleague ask how your crowdsourcing program is going. Having captured data upon implementation, you’ll be armed with the high level figures of return on investment and the benefit of your program to the organization. Once you’ve started implementing ideas, don’t forget to take your victory lap to publicize the outcome and celebrate success!

This blog post is part of a series authored by IdeaScale employees. It showcases how they’re thinking about crowdsourcing and innovation as part of their daily routine. Feel free to ask questions or make comments.

This post is by Whitney Bernstein, Innovation Strategist at IdeaScale

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