You’ve got all these ideas… now what? If you’re struggling to move ideas forward, don’t worry, you’re not alone! Here are some quick tips that will help you start making progress.

  1. Assign a stage for ideas that you will not be adopting and thank authors for participating. It gets harder to sort through ideas if you don’t have a place for ideas that won’t move forward. This can even be an “archive” or a “parking lot” that you might mine later, but all ideas should have a place to go when they are no longer being considered.
  2. Start a monthly meeting to review ideas as a team. This team is usually a cross-functional team of department heads or team leaders. The output of each of those meetings should be a shortlist of ideas assigned to individuals for more investigation and development. The review teams are usually between 5-10 people in size and the meetings last for about an hour. This is the model that NYU used in order to select ideas for cost savings at their university.
  3. Start with the low hanging fruit. Look for ideas that are easy-to-implement or “quick wins.” Fast-tracking these solutions and sharing the results builds faith in the program and paves the way for more complex ideas. University of Alabama at Birmingham did just that and implemented 200 ideas in its first year.
  4. Be a matchmaker for ideas. Routing ideas to the folks who have the power to implement them is key. Be a matchmaker between good ideas and the subject matter experts with the resources to see them through. You can even assign those individuals as the idea owner in IdeaScale. This is what Western Australia Police has done and they’ve implemented more than half the ideas in their community.
  5. Share incremental progress. You don’t have to wait until an idea is completely launched to share progress. Send pictures from committee meetings discussing ideas, share videos that narrate next steps, celebrate things that you learn along the way.   
  6. Ask the crowd for volunteers to help you implement. You can even use the “team build” stage to do this. World Cerebral Palsy Day asked for volunteers around the world to help them build the top-voted ideas and that’s how one of the world’s first solar powered wheelchairs was created. A top voted idea from a man in Turkey was built out by a team of students in Virginia.
  7. Attach ideas to existing in-progress initiatives. This is a great way to ensure ideas are implemented. It’s also how legislation passes in the government: find a relevant initiative and attach your germane idea to that initiative and it’s more likely to pass. Redwood Credit Union does this and exceeded their implementation goals by 150%.
  8. Stir the pot at least once every two weeks on promising ideas. Make a goal for progress and be transparent about it. In the Yale IdeaScale community, the community managers were expected to update on the progress of an idea every two weeks.
  9. Link external tracking to the IdeaScale system. If you start working on the idea in an external system (like a project management system) you can create a stage or a field in IdeaScale that reflects that work. For example, at IdeaScale if we start working on a feature suggestion from our ideas.ideascale community, we also update a custom field in the IdeaScale community with the live ticket number for that feature in our project management software.
  10. Orient your process around criteria and selection from the beginning. This two-part blog series talks about how to manage expectations in order to produce outcomes. If you prepare for implementation from the beginning, you’re more likely to deliver outcomes by the end of your initiative.

Want more?  Review the best practices included in the subsequent pages:

10 Quick Tips for Idea Implementation