Understanding the Origins of Innovation

The word innovate comes from the Latin innovatus, where “in” means “into” and “novatus” is a form of the verb for “making something new.” The word eventually came to refer to bringing new things or changing established practices.

People holding lightbulbs in their palms.
Ideas grow stronger through connections with other ideas and idea-makers.

Innovation can come from anywhere, anytime, and learning to encourage and manage innovation is a major competitive differentiator. Recently Jessica Day, Co-Founder and Vice President of Marketing & Communications at IdeaScale and Whitney Bernstein, Innovation Strategy and Customer Success of IdeaScale spoke with Australian podcaster Emmanuel Setyawan on the BizTalk with Emmanuel podcast. Topics of discussion were the origins of innovation and bringing innovations from idea through to successful execution. Here are some highlights of the discussion.

The Main Ingredient in Crowdsourcing Is the Crowd

Great ideas can come from anywhere, and the main thing you need for productive crowdsourcing is the crowd itself. In business, ideas typically come from customers, employees, suppliers, and company leaders. Generating and collecting ideas is typically not a problem. The challenge comes from managing ideas, sifting out the best ones, combining ideas that go naturally together, and choosing to work further on ideas that align with goals.

One potential problem is of a crowdsourcing project turning into a “popularity contest.” Innovation management software is the key to ensuring that the best ideas, regardless of who submits them, are the ones that are developed and pursued. Fairness can be ensured in several ways, including anonymizing ideas during the selection process.

Managing a Bountiful Harvest of Ideas with Innovation Management Software

Innovation management software can be used in many different ways. It can help ensure the right kinds of ideas are introduced based on clearly articulated goals and criteria (such as market-readiness). Starting with the end goal in mind, innovation management software can help ensure people submit relevant ideas and can help match up promising ideas with the decision-makers who are able to bring them to fruition.

Two men discussing information.
Part of innovation management is matching ideas with decisionmakers who can help bring them to completion.

In short, innovation management software takes what’s so great about crowdsourcing (the abundance of ideas) and helps ensure the best ideas are considered and pursued in the most efficient manner.

Demonstrating ROI Increases Buy-In, Overcomes Political Hurdles

Organizational politics can be a problem when it comes to innovation, and innovation management software can help here too. Perhaps the best way to overcome political hurdles with innovation is to demonstrate ROI from successful innovation management. One popular way to establish ROI for innovation is to begin with a smaller, lower-risk innovation project and see it through to completion. When it becomes clear that every participant in an innovation community adds value that is reflected in ROI, it becomes easier to overcome political hurdles that may accompany innovation projects.

Only rarely does innovation come from the lone creative genius, because ideas gather strength through connection with other ideas and other idea-makers. Innovation is creative, but it is also iterative, and it takes the right innovation management software to take crowdsourced innovation projects from concept through implementation. Sometimes it requires changes in attitudes. Middle management, for example, traditionally works toward risk mitigation, and that can make innovation scarier than it has to be.

Innovation, like any other skill, gets easier with practice, and it is more likely to deliver results when managed with innovation management software. Are you interested in exploring the role of innovation in business? If so, a great place to start is by downloading our Crowdsourcing to Innovate Products white paper.

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