An Innovation Program can be a complex, orchestrated series of actions and behaviors around posted ideas, in response to a corporate-approved Challenge Question. By contrast, an Innovation Event, such as a Team Tap, can be a simple, spontaneous outreach amongst one's peers to solve an immediate problem. The following Best Practices illustrate numerous opportunities for Collaborative Discovery and Collective Decision Making in an Innovation Management Solution.
Managing Your Innovation Program
Crowdsourcing Program Advocacy: Educate your colleagues and potential challenge sponsors on what crowdsourced innovation is: engaging the people who know your business best—your employees, your suppliers, your partners, and your customers—to collaborate, generate and prioritize new ideas. Secondly, let them know how it can be used, for example, leveraging the power of the crowd or identifying challenge opportunities. Lastly, inform them how to run different types of Innovation Events, i.e., a time-bound vs. Always On challenge, Hackathon, Internal vs. External Challenge, Team Tap.
How to run a Successful Challenge: Running challenges in a continuous cycle is a highly effective way to align individual motivation with organizational goals. Before the challenge begins, identify key goals and obstacles. Formulate the right Challenge Question to pose to your crowd. Select the best Challenge Owners for their roles. Launch the challenge and energize participants. Give participants feedback and conduct transparent idea evaluation. Follow up with challenge results and celebrate wins. Note Lessons Learned for the next challenge.
Build the Right Team for your Innovation Program: It’s crucial to build the right team in order to maximize the effectiveness of the Innovation Program's effort. Clear roles and responsibilities are necessary in order to succeed. Participants, roles, and responsibilities will change over time, particularly as goals are met and new problems and opportunities emerge, but it’s critical that assignments are clear and understood at launch.
Best Practices for Idea Evaluation: Consider the evaluation criteria before you begin reviewing ideas, to determine which Ideas show the most promise and which can be easily put to the side. Determine what characteristics an idea must have in order to move forward to the next stage. Use built-in metrics like star votes, views, comments, or time of last activity to determine which Ideas are in most need of response, which ones are potential winners, and which can easily be taken out of the mix. Be as specific as possible about what you’re looking for when starting a challenge. Establish a strong context and use the challenge description in IdeaPlace Email Notifications to state what your goals are and what factors you’ll need to evaluate Ideas.
Develop Products more Effectively: If there’s one thing Product Teams are not lacking for, it's a constant flow of ideas about how their product should evolve to meet the needs of different constituents. However, without a systematic process, teams can struggle to ensure they're focusing scarce resources on the most impactful validated enhancements that customers and potential customers desire. Empower Product Teams to build better products by managing the flow of product ideas with IdeaPlace.
Long Term Success
- Promoting your Innovation Program: Internal marketing is a powerful tool that can be used to inspire employees and motivate them to become innovators. Introduce IdeaPlace to Your Community. A town hall meeting is a key event for communicating your corporate strategy and innovation goals to your entire community and explain how IdeaPlace is part of realizing that vision. Branding your Innovation Program makes it easier for you to talk about the program and rally participants. IdeaPlace Email Notifications are an internal marketing tool built directly into IdeaPlace that can be used to introduce initiatives, kick off Challenges, motivate participation, and celebrate wins.
- Driving Participation with your Innovation Program: By providing frequent and continuous feedback, maintaining transparency, recognizing contributions, and sustaining long-term engagement with rewards and incentives, you motivate employees to keep contributing and remain active participants in your Innovation Program.
- Leadership in Innovation - Moderators: The Moderator is responsible for managing the day-to-day activity of the Innovation Program, and directing ideas through different stages of evaluation to turn potentially useful ideas into action. Through a four step approach—Discover, Discuss, Evaluate, and Decide—you can better understand how to use IdeaPlace features to motivate participation, drive sustained engagement in your innovation program, and identify and act on the best ideas.
- The Power of No in an Innovation Program: Declining ideas is a necessary part of an Innovation Program, and when done transparently, can provide the fuel for ongoing engagement with the program. If that “no” comes with a thoughtful reasoning as to why the idea won’t be presently acted upon and realized—usually citing a constraint—nine times out of ten the person will accept the outcome. People understand constraints. What they want is a conversation. To be listened to. Often “nos” in an innovation program represent the fitness of the idea to the current environment. As that environment changes, that “no” can easily turn into a “yes.”