When thinking about ideation, one of the most important factors to consider is transparency. Although at first glance it may not seem to be so, transparency or the lack thereof can have a huge impact on the level of success of any innovation campaign. In fact, in years past, methods of ideation that have not involved a focus on transparency have had that lack specifically cited as a main reason for their ineffectiveness.
But before getting into the failure of previous ideation methods as a result of no transparency, let us consider some of the benefits of transparency in innovation.
One of the most impactful benefits of transparency in ideation is that all participants are able to see that their contributions are appreciated, even if those ideas are ultimately not implemented. Employees who feel a sense of agency in their organization are much more likely to want to contribute in the future. Beyond that, this transparency fosters a positive organizational culture, where all feel valued and necessary.
Hand in hand with that is another benefit: transparency means that people are able to be held accountable, both in moments of celebration, and moments that provide opportunity for growth. Being able to recognize innovators for their ideas is another step in creating a positive organizational culture. It’s just another occasion to show community members that they are important. But this accountability also allows for constructive feedback on ideas that are not quite up to snuff, with productive suggestions for future contributions.
Going beyond employee participation in ideation, a third benefit of transparency, with all stakeholders in the community, is that they are more likely to feel engaged and invested, increasing the likelihood for positive customer relationships. Allowing customers and other stakeholders to participate in ideation—and being transparent with the outcomes—is an incredibly powerful way to show the community that their contributions are appreciated.
If these benefits aren’t enough to convince you that transparency is important to ideation, perhaps the detriments to methods that don’t encourage transparency will do the trick.
Recent studies investigating the failure and abandonment of former methods of ideation, specifically the suggestion box, show why a lack of transparency can be one of the biggest hindrances to innovation. Historically, when there’s a lack of transparency, community members were suggesting innovations and had no idea of the status or process that occurred after their ideas were submitted. There was also no way for other members to participate by voting on or adding to ideas that were suggested. There was no accountability, and no way to recognize those members who had introduced winning ideas.
We have all utilized some methods for innovation that were less than successful. Confess your shame in less than a sentence and share in this contest for the chance to win an Apple Watch.